How to Train Your Abused Dog to Trust

Hard
1-12 Months
General

Introduction

So you've decided that your house is missing the warmth of a canine companion. In efforts to do the right thing, you make a trip to your local shelter to see what pooches are in need of a home. As you're looking, you see the saddest pair of eyes you've ever seen staring out back at you. You know in your heart that you've found your fur-baby, but you still get a little twinge of anxiety when the worker tells you that this dog has been abused.

Defining Tasks

It takes a huge heart and plenty of patience to adopt a pet who is a victim of abuse. Those who have been able to take on the task can vouch that there are few things more rewarding than bringing the joy back into a dog's life. So rest assured, your efforts will not be in vain to gain the trust of one of these shattered souls.

Because every dog and every situation is different, the time it takes to win over an abused pup is really all over the map. Some victims bounce back surprisingly fast, while others never fully recover from their past experiences.

Unfortunately, abuse happens to dogs of all ages. Older pooches have a lower chance of being adopted, so more rehabilitation happens in young to middle-aged dogs. That being said, young dogs generally have a longer road to recovery than canines who were abused at older ages.

Getting Started

Before you bring one of these babies home, you're going to want to be prepared. Your success will depend on how comfortable you can make your new family member, so keep that in mind. It's good to come into this relationship with the following:

  • A Calm Temperament: Dogs feed off of their owner's emotions. If you are uptight and nervous, any interaction with an abused fur-buddy will be tense. Calm yourself down before picking up your new pooch, and practice speaking in a low, quiet tone of voice.
  • Some Alone Time: Many, if not most, abused dogs will only become more distressed if there are multiple people or animals in their new home. Allow your new family member to have a quiet space where you both can slowly get to know one another.

Lots and Lots of Treats: Especially during those first few interactions, you're going to want to reward any contact the dog is willing to initiate.

Top-Quality Food: A lot of abused dogs have never been fed an appropriate diet. Many are even malnourished or super deficient in certain nutrients. Invest in a high-quality dog food or look into feeding your furry friend a balanced raw diet to combat any damage that has been done by a poor diet.

Realistic Expectations and Tons of Patience: It's best not to get your hopes up when working with an abused animal. Recovery looks different on every dog. But also do your best not to get discouraged either. As long as you are providing the pup its best possible life, your efforts are worth it.

Below are a few different methods you can use to build trust with an abused dog. You may need to try a few before you find what works the best in your situation.

The Beat Their Fears Method

Most Recommended
7 Votes
Beat Their Fears method for Trust
Step
1
Identify stressors
Pinpoint what bothers your new pooch the most. Do your best not to induce extra stress figuring this out; it's best to identify their fears through observation.
Step
2
Expose your dog
Come up with a way to expose the dog to their fear in a totally controlled manner. Allow the pup to face their fear in a small way. Do not force them into the situation or push them toward what is scaring them.
Step
3
Encourage
Give the dog treats and or praise throughout the experience so that they associate good things with what once scared them.
Step
4
Repeat
Repeat the exercise on a regular basis and consider increasing the amount of time that the dog is exposed to their fear if they begin to show improvement.
Recommend training method?

The Praise With Clicks Method

Effective
5 Votes
Praise With Clicks method for Trust
Step
1
Study up
Learn the ins and outs of clicker training. Read articles and talk to experts to get comfortable with the technique.
Step
2
Get equipped
Get yourself a “clicker” and some treats.
Step
3
Observe and click
Watch your pet closely, and hit the clicker as soon as you witness a good behavior.
Step
4
Reward!
Follow the click with a treat so that the dog knows that the clicker means “good job!”
Step
5
Repeat
Keep doing this! Clicker training is great for abuse victims because it helps build good behaviors without using harsh corrections.
Recommend training method?

The Spend Time Alone Together Method

Least Recommended
2 Votes
Spend Time Alone Together method for Trust
Step
1
Choose a spot
Pick a quiet room away from any commotion in your home. De-clutter the space, but leave a dog blanket or bed, a dish of water, and a chair so that you have somewhere to sit.
Step
2
Get together
Bring your new addition into the room with you and close the door. Sit in the seat and occupy yourself while the dog does his own thing.
Step
3
Reward!
Every now and then, place a dog treat near where the pooch is playing.
Step
4
Repeat
Repeat this daily until the dog is comfortable approaching you.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Amy Caldwell

Published: 09/20/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Finn
Yorkshire Terrier
2 Years
-1 found helpful
Question
-1 found helpful
Finn
Yorkshire Terrier
2 Years

He cowers down when a man tries to get him to listen but not with a female, he even lifts his hind leg and starts peeing a little.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Monique, Check out the article linked below on submissive peeing. Staying Calm Method https://wagwalking.com/training/not-pee-when-excited I also suggest working on confidence building: The Build Confidence Method https://wagwalking.com/training/stop-being-submissive Finally, if the person pup is afraid of lives with you, check out the article linked below and the section on Shy dogs and humans. Have the man pup is afraid of work on things like the treat tosses while ignoring pup, joining you on heeling walks with pup, and practicing fun obedience and tricks to build pup's confidence around that person. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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lilly and layla
Bulldog
18 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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lilly and layla
Bulldog
18 Months

the pitbull has just came out of an abusive situation and the other has been with me since she was 6 weeks old they play well together until one gets upset and growls but when i raise my voice even a bit my pitbull gets scared how can i teach them to play nice without scaring her?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jordan, Work on teaching both dogs the "Out" command, which means leave the area. When one of the dogs starts getting mad, tell the dog's "Out", then distract them with something else to do so that they calm down and leave one another alone at that time. To teach her an "Out" command, first call her over to you, then toss a treat several feet away from yourself while pointing to the area where you are tossing the treat with the finger of your treat-tossing-hand and saying "Out" at the same time. Use treats that are large enough for her to see from a few feet away and practice this on a surface where the treats will be visible, like tile, concrete, or light hardwoods. After she walks away from you and finishes eating the treat, tell her "Okay!" in an excited tone of voice and encourage her to come back over to you. Repeat tossing treats with the "Out" command and "Okay!" command until she will go over to the area where you point when you say "Out" before you have tossed a treat. Practice this in several areas of your home or yard, especially in areas where the dogs tend to play. If you tell the her "Out" and she obeys, give her a treat once she is out of the area and for staying out for at least five minutes. When she will leave the area when told "Out" before you toss a treat., then whenever you tell her "Out" and she does not go to where you are pointing, calmly and firmly walk toward her and herd her out of the area with your body - walking toward her so that she has to backup. You can also put a pillow in front of you and gently use that to herd her out. Adjust your body language and firmness to the dog - be more gentle with your scared dog while doing this and a bit firmer with your more confident dog - don't do this if either dog has a history of aggression though. When you have walked your dog to the area where you originally told her to go, then stop and wait until she stops trying to go back to the area that you made her leave - blocking her from going back there. When she is no longer trying to get past you, then slowly walk backwards to where you were before. If she follows you, then tell her "Out" again and walk toward her until she is back to where she was a moment ago. Repeat this until she will stay several feet away from where you were when you told her "Out" originally. When you are ready for her to come back, then tell her "OK" in an up beat tone of voice. Practice this training until she will consistently leave the area when you tell her "Out". When she will consistently leave, then practice the training with other areas that you would like for her to leave, such as the kitchen when you are preparing food, a person's space when she is being pushy, an area with a plant that she is trying to dig up, or somewhere with something in your home that she should not be bothering. When the dogs are rough housing and getting mad, tell them "Out" (after having practiced the above without another dog involved first). If they disobey, rather than getting between them to enforce the command, use a pillow to make one of the dogs back away and leave the area. The more you practice, the better they should get at listening to your Out command even while riled up. At first, they will likely not pay attention to it until they learn through practice that you mean it and will follow through with what you say. If the aggression is ever serious or the dogs draw blood, you need to take other measures to keep everyone safe though. The above method is for dogs that are mostly just annoying each other and pestering one another, and having little disagreements. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Freya
Staffordshire
1 Year
0 found helpful
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Freya
Staffordshire
1 Year

So recently my husband and I adopted a dog. She was adopted as a stray so the shelter wasn't able to provide us any information of her past. We think she was abused or neglected as far as attention goes. She is skittish and quiet. She does not bark. Overall, she is a very good dog despite our lack of knowledge on her. Now, I am writing because I want to make sure I make her comfortable with us and I want to instill my authority. She has recently been ignoring my commands. Mainly at dinner time - she refuses to eat her food and insist on following us for table food. I want her to eat good, but I don't want to have to feed her nothing but table food or scraps. what can I do? Also, she will go to her bed and chew on it aggressivley, what could that be? I'm thinking a replacement technique for something, but I can't even imagine for what since there's no stimulus that causes her to do it - at least not that I know of. I read it could just be because she's bored or anxious? Do you have any tips that can help us gain her trust and respect for us as her "alphas" so that she listens to our commands and starts eating her own food??

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Freya, I would recommend teaching Freya the "Place" command and enforcing it very consistently. Have her lay on her "Place" at meal times so that she never expects to be given people food. After you are finished eating your meal, then put her own food down and release her from the place command to go eat her food. By that point your food should be put away and her only option is to eat her own food. She will also be learning to patiently wait for you to finish your food before she is fed at the same time, which will be good for her self-control. She might protest being ignored by continually trying to get up or by barking at first. Expect that at first and be ready to firmly send her back to her own bed. You can also purchase a chew proof leash called VirChewyLy and attach one end of it to somewhere by the "Place" and then clip her to it so that she cannot get off of the place. Do this until she forms a habit of staying there during meal times and no longer tries to get off, then you can work on enforcing her staying on the bed out of respect for you without the leash when she is less resistant and has learned not to expect food from the table in general. Right now while you are feeding her her own food during your meal time, it is normal for her to resist eating her own food because she wants to keep room in her stomach to eat yours, just in case you give in and give her some or she is able to steal some. Feeding her after you eat, making her wait on her place during meal times, and never feeding her from the table should help her eat her own food when you do give it to her. If she continues to be picky even after that, then consider switching her to another dry dog food. Some dogs will be picky because their own food bothers them due to an allergy to an ingredient or a specific formulation that doesn't agree with their stomachs. Often switching to another food will help. Look for a food that is a decent quality and has a different recipe. Make the switch gradually to avoid upsetting her stomach however. It does not sound like this is Freya's issue, but if she continues to be a picky eater after you have added the place command and changed her feeding schedule, try switching foods then. For the bed chewing give her an interesting chew toy to concentrate on while she is on there. She is young enough that it is normal for her to have a need to chew still. You can also place some of her own dry dog food into a bowl with water, let it sit out until the food turns into mush, and then loosely stuff a medium or large classic Kong toy with it. This will get her more interested in her own dinner and give her something to alleviate boredom with while you eat your own food. You can also make several of these ahead of time with multiple Kongs, freeze all of them, and then simply pull them out of the freezer at meal times while she is on her place. The bed chewing could be anxiety related but it is more likely that she simply enjoys the chewing with her age, and it helps her to relieve boredom. Giving her good chew toys like food stuffed toys and deer antlers will help with the boredom. To help her break the habit that she thinks is great fun, look into purchasing a more chewproof bed while she is young. PrimoPads makes firm kennel pad beds that withstand chewing well. Cot type beds are also good options. Once she is older, has developed a habit of chewing toys and not other items, and is less likely to chew, then you can reintroduce stuffed beds and see how she does. https://www.primopads.com/ To work on her general respect toward you without being overly harsh with her check out the article that I have linked below and focus the most on the "Obedience" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you For her "Place" you can use anything visible that is large enough for her to lay on. Something like a cot or PrimoPad will be more comfortable, but a mat or towel that is a clearly defined area will work. You simply want something that is big enough for her to lay on, stand on, or sit on. She can be in any position but she cannot get off of that place until she is release when you tell her "Okay" or "Free". Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Oskar
Morky
9 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Oskar
Morky
9 Months

He has been previously abused and shivering in his sleep. He has a lot of dreams and wake up whining what do I do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lex, During the day practice saying pup's name and offering tossing a treat each time. Practice this until pup acts happy each time you say their name. Once they have a good association with their name, when they are dreaming at night, say their name happily, then reward when they come over, to help them snap out of the dream without being frightened. Give pup time as well. If pup has recently come to live with you, pup's relationship and security with you in your home should grow as time goes on for pup to feel more secure. Know that it is also normal for many dogs to cry out in their sleep - my own dog is well loved and secure and brought home as a young puppy, without a history of abuse, and even she will often bark and sometimes whine in her sleep if she is having an active dream - the dream could be about anything, like another animal or source of excitement, and we will never know for sure. I often say her name - which she associates with good things and our voices, and she will wake up wagging her tail now. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Finn
Spaniel mix
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
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Finn
Spaniel mix
1 Year

The shelter I got Finn from told me that he has been abused and left to die in the house by his previous owner. Considering that this all happened no too long ago, he is very sweet and loving and willing to learn. Everyone at the shelter told me that once he stopped growling at people they were able to take him out on a walk and after that he was totally fine with the ladies at the shelter. While adopting him he was very happy saying hi to everyone, but as soon as we got home I started noticing some major issues. Despite him trusting me and being ok around me, he does not like anyone else. He is afraid of my mom and of strangers (especially men). He will not allow anyone else pet him or approach him. He even growls at them and runs away. This is obviously totally understandable because all he has known in his life is people are no good. But, this is also obviously a huge issue. We got Finn for my self to have as an emotional support animal/service dog, so he needs to be ok around strangers and open to meeting people. I know this problem can be fixed or at least maintained. Right now I am using a lot of treats to encourage him when something new or strange is ok and good. He takes treats out of my moms hand and that's it. He is very curious and often approaches her when her back is turned so this is good. Anyway, I want to teach him that all people are good and new places are good. I am looking for a dog trainer now for a couple of one on one sessions but I am hoping in the meantime i could do something to help him. I am planning on taking him back to school with me, so the sooner I can start effective training the better. Thank you! Hope to hear from you soon!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Taylor, Recruit friends and family members that he is frightened of to help you. Have the people, working with just one person at a time, meet you inside your home or while you are on walks. Have the person stay far enough away for Finn to not growl or run away but still notice the person. Whenever Finn is acting calm around the person, or at least tolerating the person and not growling, have the person toss treats over to him without looking at him. Have them do this with his dog food or treats for at least an hour. Other than tossing treats they should ignore him. When he is ready to approach them, then they can toss him treats or let him eat treats out of their hand. Once Finn is totally comfortable being near the person and comes up to the person for treats, then they can carefully add touch by feeding him a treat with one hand while gently and briefly touching him on the shoulder with their other hand. They should remove their hand as soon as he finishes eating the treat. You want to pair the touch with the treat and to take the training slow. Don't push Finn to quickly. Let him make the choice to approach the person or be touched in order to get a treat. If he likes playing ball, then when he is comfortable enough to approach the person, you can have them play fetch with him to help him relax around them. You can also have that person go on a walk with you, with Finn between you and the other person. Gauge this carefully though. Make sure that Finn is willing to be around the person before you have him walk so close to them. He doesn't have to let them pet him before you do the walk though if you are holding the leash. Practice this training with as many different people as you can, but only practice this with one person at a time and not a group yet. By having your friends practice the training at your home and meeting you in your neighborhood or other public locations that won't overwhelm him, you are showing him that guest in your home and strangers outside can all be nice. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Cloie
Bichon Frise
6 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Cloie
Bichon Frise
6 Years

I just adopted her 4 days ago.She came from a puppy mill,then a dog rescue,then a private home for 6 months.She is so scared of people,noise,and everything including me that I don't know what to do.I think she acts like she has been abuse.She lays in a dog bed I got from past owner.She also Will pave back and forth in my dining room.She runs from me if I go near her.Please help me gain her trust.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Suzanne, What she needs most is patience and time. If she will eat food when you are in the room, then find some of her favorite treats (like freeze dried soft liver of real chicken) and whenever you enter the room, she looks your way, or you are simply hanging out in the room with her, occasionally toss her treats without forcing her to get too close. As she improves, toss the treats a bit less far so that she will come closer willingly as she warms up. Spend time quietly being in the room with her, giving her occasional breaks to be alone so that she will completely relax, and letting her come up to you. Take it one step at a time, and realize that you being relaxed, quiet, calm and happy will be the easiest for her to accept. You sitting on a couch or seemingly ignoring her will probably help her warm up the fastest. You may want to hire a professional trainer with a calm demeanor around dogs to come to your home to help you longer-term with different areas of fear. Initially this person can help you with the process of getting her used to you, then getting her used to walking on a leash, being groomed, and finally being around other people and going places. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Tux
Labrador Retriever, Mixed Breed
11 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Tux
Labrador Retriever, Mixed Breed
11 Months

We got our dog at the Animal Rescue Leauge of Iowa. I have been having trouble training him because we did not know where he came from previously and when we got him he had kennel cough and an ear infection. He would occassionally poop and pee in the house but we though it was just him being sick. He has gotten over the sickness but now we are having trouble because every time we leave he poops in the house (even though we take him out right before we leave) and he has torn down all my blinds in my house along with chewing a lot of things up around the house. We have tried multiple things but I do not know the proper way to train him because it seems to me that before we got him he had been abused.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Hannah, He needs to be crate trained. Since he was likely not trained by another owner before, you need to go back to the basics that you would with a puppy. He does not know not to chew on things when alone, and it's normal for a young dog to look for something to do when bored. He also has probably never truly been potty trained. Crate him with food-stuffed chew toys while you are away. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Crate Training" method. Since he is much older than the puppy described in the article, you can take him outside less often. When you are home take him to go potty every three to four hours. When you are gone he should be able to hold it for as long as six-hours in the crate, and eight hours once he understands what to do. After he goes potty outside and receives his treats for going potty, take him back inside (or on a walk or to play if you wish) and give him two hours of supervised free time. When the two hours are up, put him back into the crate until it's time for the next potty trip outside. Doing it this way ensures that he is not free while his bladder is full. The more accidents that you can prevent and the more successful times that he pees or poops outside and is rewarded for it, the quicker potty training will go. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside All young dogs should be confined when you are not there to supervise. He has not been taught what to chew (chew toys) and not chew (your stuff). Being given too much freedom can be life threatening if he eats the wrong thing, and expensive! Confining him now and teaching him what's okay to chew (by giving him food-stuffed chew toys in the crate) will help him have a lot of freedom when he is older for the rest of his life. Dogs that are not confined while unsupervised while young often have to be crated for the rest of their lives when people are gone because they develop long-term habits of chewing and destroying things. Do him a favorite and keep him safe with a crate now so that he will go onto enjoy more freedom later when he is ready for it. The crate should be just big enough for him to turn around, lay down, and stand up. If it's so big that he can go potty in one end and stand in the other end to avoid the mess, then it will not encourage him to naturally hold his bladder while inside. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Nala
Border Collie/Blue Heeler mix
8 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Nala
Border Collie/Blue Heeler mix
8 Months

Hello! I recently was given Nala on Christmas for free, to be trained as a service dog. She is such a sweetheart, but when it comes to new people, she is petrified and sometimes nips as a warning that she is afraid. The previous owners neglected and abused her and she was rescued from a puppy mill, so definitely did not get the correct treatment from birth. She has warmed up to me and my caregiver(mom) and sister/her kids, but to my dad and sisters husband she gets very scared. She seems to not do well around men, especially. When we first got her she was petrified of our steps, her food, and didn't go potty for the first 3 days. She is now going potty outside, eating well, and loves her treats and new toys we bought her. She such a sweet girl, I would hate to see my dad get rid of her because she nips when scared. How should we go about helping her feel safer around men and new people in general? She already is a great service dog, so I do not want to get rid of her over her having a difficult start in life. She deserves a loving family, as she has with us. Any help would be amazing.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Hallie, Because you are wanting to train her as a Service Dog I highly suggest hiring a professional to help you in person. The public nature of Service Dog work requires a lot of adaptability and a solid temperament from a dog with even the best start in life. Service Dogs have to be around a lot of people and be able to handle surprising and sometimes unexpected or scary situations and the criteria for a dog like that is very high. Many dogs never make the cut. With that said, if you use her help primarily at home and not in public locations she can still perform tasks for you there even if you can't bring her with you in public. I suggest hiring a trainer and recruiting as many friends and family members as you can, whom she is not used to yet. Have one person at a time toss treats to her while ignoring her from a distance whenever she is quiet and calm. Let Nala decide when she is comfortable coming over to say hi. Practice with one person mutliple times and days until she warms up to that person. When she is comfortable with that person, practice the same thing with another person. Also, practice having people you know do the same thing with tossing treats to her in public locations like on walks, pet stores, parks, and other new places. Take her to a lot of new places but keep space between her and others at first, let her go at her own pace, praise and reward her for calm behavior, and try to act confident yourself. Don't pitty her or sooth her. Instead show her through your own attitude that she can relax and feel confident. Practice general obedience training with her to build her confidence as well. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Cookie
German Shepherd
4 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Cookie
German Shepherd
4 Years

Hi I was wondering if you have any tips on how to help my dog all we know is she was abused she is very sensitive of her paws and I don't know if that had anything to do with it.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Very nice! Many dogs are highly sensitive in the paws and that is often why nail trimming is a chore. But it could also be from her past - it is hard to say. When you are cuddling with Cookie on the couch occasionally pet her paws. Once she gets used to that, you can gently manipulate her toes in a soft way. Of course, if she will not allow it, don't force the issue. For nail trims, you can take her to a groomer who knows how to deal with ultra sensitive dogs. In the meantime, when she comes in from the rain, etc take a towel and gently wipe the feet each time. That may help to desensitize the paws, too. All the best.

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Rusty
Bullmastiff cross
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Rusty
Bullmastiff cross
2 Years

Hi,
We just brought Rusty home yesterday after a slow introduction at the rescue centre. He was found as a stray so we don't know his history, but he flinches and cowers at sudden movements, especially from men, so we suspect he's been abused. We visited him every day for over a week, gradually building up to walking him, feeding him and, finally, stroking him.
When we got him home, he explored the house and garden, and we let him do his own thing at his own pace. He approached both my husband and me for affection, accepted treats, and ate all his food. He spent the night in his own crate and was waiting calmly this morning when I let him out into the garden to do his business. We thought it was pretty much a miracle and all he needed was a safe home!
Then my husband went out today for a couple of hours, and when he came back, Rusty rushed at him as he came in the door, barking his head off and growling. He sniffed my husband's hand but continued growling and barking at him. He seems to have bonded strongly with me, but my husband now feels very on edge that this huge, powerful dog has made him feel threatened.
I know that Rusty needs time to settle, but obviously it's not acceptable for him to behave this aggressively towards an owner.
Do you have any advice we could start with? I want my husband to take him to training classes so he sees him as the leader but what could we do in the meantime?
Thank you.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mrs. Henderson, Whether he was abused or not, he probably needs a lot of structure. A lack of socialization can also be responsible for the behavior you described and is even more common, but either way give him clear boundaries, expect respect, don't tolerate pushiness or him guarding you or coming into your space uninvited right now - calmly make him leave the area if so. Work on teaching things like Place, have him perform commands he knows like Sit, Watch me, or other simple things you can start teaching now, before giving him things he wants - including food, pets, toys, and walks. Work on teaching a structured heel and have your husband walk with and practice him heeling slightly behind him, focused, and following him. Check out the commands from the videos linked below and work on commands that encourage calmness, trust, and respect without too much dramatic confrontation. Building trust and respect can help with anxiousness and building a relationship. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo This is a dog that probably needs calm leadership and not to be babied or feel sorry for right now - even though that's hard to do because we can feel bad when he seems scared. Structure and stimulating a dog mentally can help with anxiety too - anxious dogs tend to need predictability, calmness, leadership, boundaries, and consistency most. Expect him to be able to learn and follow, and you be consistent. If you or your husband feel afraid, I suggest getting pup used to wearing a muzzle. If introduced right, a muzzle doesn't have to be unpleasant for him and can make things a lot less stressful for you and him - because you will have an easier time being calm and consistent around him and your energy can help him too. To introduce the muzzle, first place it on the ground and sprinkle his meal kibble around it. Do this until he is comfortable eating around it. Next, when he is comfortable with it being on the floor with food, hold it up and reward him with a piece of kibble every time he touches or sniffs it in your hand. Feed him his whole meal this way. Practice this until he is comfortable touching it. Next, hold a treat inside of it through the muzzle's holes, so that he has to poke his face into it to get the treat. As he gets comfortable doing that, gradually hold the treat further down into the muzzle, so that he has to poke his face all the way into the muzzle to get the treat. Practice until he is comfortable having his face in it. Next, feed several treats in a row through the muzzle's holes while he holds his face in the muzzle for longer. Practice this until he can hold his face in it for at least ten seconds while being fed treats. Next, when he can hold his face in the muzzle for ten seconds while remaining calm, while his face is in the muzzle move the muzzle's buckles together briefly, then feed him a treat through the muzzle. Practice this until he is not bothered by the buckles moving back and forth. Next, while he is wearing the muzzle buckle it and unbuckle it briefly, then feed a treat. As he gets comfortable with this step, gradually keep the muzzle buckled for longer and longer while feeding treats through the muzzle occasionally. Next, gradually increase how long he wears the muzzle for and decrease how often you give him a treat, until he can calmly wear the muzzle for at least an hour without receiving treats more than two treats during that hour. I would definitely hire help - look for someone who has experience with fear, reactivity, and aggression. You probably need more than just a basic obedience, all though that's also good. You need someone who specializes in behavior problems and can show you how to implement obedience and structure into your home to help - not all trainers have experience with behavior problems. There are specialties in training like with other professions also. A trick trainer may be great at teaching that but not with dealing with aggression, and vice versa. Look for a trainer with the past experience you need. Someone who uses positive reinforcement, fair corrections, boundaries, and structure to encourage relationship building, calmness and consistency. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Mookie
Boxer
2 Years
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Mookie
Boxer
2 Years

we rescued him Mookie from an abusive house. Apparently, the men in the house were emotionally and physically abusive to him. He was very quiet and skittish when he first came home to especially to others coming into the house. Now, he barks at everyone but still is not like a boxer who loves all... he is extremely afraid of men to the point where he will shake. Last night I had him in the car to pick up my son and he was barking at everyone walking by when one of the dads came over and he was barking aggressively and lunged at him. I am very concerned because he is such a loving dog within our family but so very afraid. do you have any tips??

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Julie, Check out the video linked below by Jeff Gellman, who specializes in aggression and reactive dogs. Here he demonstrated safety measures (a back tie), when to have people reward a dog (during calmness and not during aggressive displays), and how to appropriately use punishment when treating aggression (with good timing, calmness, and in combination with positive reinforcement for calm behavior and with the appropriate safety measures for your guests). Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A You will need a lot of different men to help you practice this with him, practicing with one person at a time. I suggest working with a trainer who is extensively experienced with aggression and works with several other male trainers so that the various men can practice the training with him as well. Work on building his confidence in general. Practice obedience commands in a calm way, especially structured commands like heel, stay, watch me, sit, and down. Practice boundaries around the house, like respecting your space while going through doors, following you in a heel during a walk (and not being past your leg or pulling), and commands like off and other basic house hold manners things. You can also build confidence through things like agility courses, where he has to overcome obstacles and teaching him new things often. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Izzy
Pit Bull-Boxer Mix
4 Years
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Izzy
Pit Bull-Boxer Mix
4 Years

This is my mom’s dog and she just rescued her about a year ago. Izzy and my mom acclamated to each other and this dog loves and trusts my mom. I have recently moved in and this dog is absolutely terrified of me. She has scars all over her nose and legs and we really don’t know the extent of how she was abused. I don’t know if I look like the guy that abused or what but she is terrified of me and cowers, shakes and often barks or leaves a room when I come around. Over the past few months, she has become more comfortable with me, will let me take her on walks, will sometimes approach me and let me pet her, but as a a whole, she will often remain timid and act very unsure and afraid of me, often never letting me interact. Interested in finding out what we can do to help her trust.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ryan, If she has not shown any aggression, then there are several things you can do - Any fearful dog can act aggressively if pushed too far though so you should still be careful not to corner or trap her. First, continue the walks together. At first, start the walks out with your mom walking her and holding the leash and transition to you getting closer, holding the leash, then walking her alone as your mom goes back inside and you continue the walk with her. Go slowly with this and watch her body language to see when she relaxes and avoid overwhelming her too much at once. What is her favorite game? If she likes hide and seek with treats, fetch, tug, agility, or some other game, play with her and your mom. As she relaxes while playing transition to playing with her by yourself. If she is food motivated, carry some of her favorite treats, like freeze dried liver, in your pockets while at home. When you enter a room, before she has a chance to react badly, toss the liver to her ahead of you, so that she will begin to subconsciously look forward to you entering a room. It's important that you time this before she runs or barks. You can also do it when she gets calm again for a second if you need to - just make sure the reward isn't delivered while she is doing what you don't want. When she is relaxed enough around you to be within two feet of you and eat food that you drop for her, work on teaching her fun commands. Look into lure reward training and clicker training and use rewards. This training should be fun and relaxed to avoid intimidating her right now. Regularly training a dog is one of the best ways to gain a dog's trust and respect though, so this will be a big deal when she gets ready for it from doing the other exercises. When you have gotten to the point where you can do all of the above with her, then you can also use her meal kibble as treats for performing commands and tricks throughout the day as part of the normal routine. For instance, tell her to sit before taking her outside, to look at you before you toss a toy, to go to her bed, to come, ect...and be ready with a treat that was hidden in your pocket and reward her when she obeys. Doing this helps her also learn to listen to you without fearing you so that your interactions long term will be more peaceful when you need her to do something. You can use part of her meal kibble for these treats so that she is working for her food. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Dobby
Mini Australian Shepterrier
1 Year
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Dobby
Mini Australian Shepterrier
1 Year

Hello, I got my little pup from a breeder when he was 12 weeks old. He was extremely timid and a cowered even at that young of an age. But I fell in love with him as soon as I saw him. He's very intelligent, potty training was a breeze! He got very used to being around me and my schedule right away. But he's over attached now. He follows me everywhere, including the bathroom. If I leave the room, he rushes past me to go out first so he knows where I'm going. If I leave the house and put him in a crate, when I come back his eyes are red and he smells bad from stressing too much. When we go outside I used to have him on a leash in the yard until he got used to our place. He learned to stay by me and come when I called him. Now he goes out to go potty, but if he doesn't want to come back when I call him, he runs in circles (very very fast). Then he rushes past me runs to the house and hides under the bed because he knows he wasn't listening to me. He does listen most of the time though. But when he gets like that he also won't let me approach him. He just runs further away. If I try to grab his collar, he freaks out and tries to bite me. He's done this even in the house if he knows he was naughty (which is rare). If I try to make him come he cowers, and if I try to get ahold of him, he'll try to bite. But he's so smart, and most of the time he's such a sweet boy! I love him so much and don't understand this issue. My husband said that he thinks that Dobby is bored. I recently got him an 8 week old puppy playmate. They get along great now and I'm hoping this will help him to calm down a little bit. Any ideas on how to help the other problems?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Stacey, For the running away and hiding I suggest keeping a drag leash on him without a handle. Look up VirChewLy leashes on Amazon. When he won't come, calmly walk over to him, step on the leash, pick it up, and reel him in. If he comes willingly when you first call him, then give him a treat. Decide how long the leash should be based on how close he will let you get before he runs off again. For the biting I suggest practicing handling him. At meal times whenever you can, feed him his food one piece at a time (measure it out, don't reach in his bowl). Touch him somewhere gently and every time you do, give him a treat at the same time. For example, touch his ear - give a treat. Touch his paw - give a treat. Hold his collar - give a treat. Start with areas he is comfortable with and progress to areas he is more worried about as he relaxes and begins to understand the process. Do this often until he enjoys being touched in general. Typically for a couple of months each day, and every once in a while even after that to maintain the training. For the clinginess, work on commands that build self-control and independence: Teach a long Place command where he has to stay on the spot while you move throughout the house. Teach a distance Sit and Down Stay using a long back-tie leash to keep him from following you. Practice structured heel during walks, where he walks beside or behind you and has to focus on you the whole time, and do sit, down, and watch me commands periodically during the walk (this is also a good way to stimulate him mentally). Practice him staying in the crate with the door open while you are home. Continue to give him things like puzzle toys, food stuffed chew toys, and to spend time training him to stimulate him mentally. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Peanut
Basenji mi
12 Months
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Peanut
Basenji mi
12 Months

I adopted Peanut from the pound almost 3months ago and he is very skiddish and he won't let us touch him, he is very scared of loud sudden noises, we think he was abused. He has come along way since the first day but I want to hold and kiss him. Peanut loves other dogs, he plays with Chucka and they have a great bond. Please help. I give him treats throughout the day

Thank you,
Tracey Fitzpatrick
678/538/8143

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tracey, Check out the video linked below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bT0lyPdZ6mk I suggest working on obedience, structure, confidence building exercises, and things that challenge his brain and help build trust and respect. Continue using rewards but only give him those for things he does that are brave (like allowing you to touch him, approaching you, staying calm around a noise). Feed him his meal kibble throughout the day when he does something good like stay calm in a scary situation, initiate an interaction in a good way, act brave in some way, or tolerate touch. You want to reward a calm and confident state of mind and those types of behaviors - not fearful or aggressive behaviors or mindsets. Also, work on getting him used to being touched. When he is comfortable enough that he will approach you on his own, begin gently touching him in an area that he is more tolerant of while also feeding him a treat from your other hand at the same time (hire a professional trainer to help you with this if he has shown aggression though). Start with areas he is more comfortable being touched on and feed him his entire meal kibble this way, one touch at a time. As he improves, include touches in other areas too, starting with easier areas first and gradually moving onto more sensitive areas as he improves. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Sammy
Boston Huahua
4 Months
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Sammy
Boston Huahua
4 Months

I just got him earlier this evening, his previous owners beat him, never gave him a name, never touched him lovingly or pet him, and he was outside 24/7. How do I train a puppy to listen to his name, and not be scared to step outside when he's only known abuse?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Connor, You will need a lot of patience, extra effort socializing him, and rewards. To teach him his name find some small treats that he loves, or use his puppy food if he likes that. Say his name and make an interesting noise, like a finger snap, tap, whistle (change up what the interesting noise is but keep the name part consistent). Whenever he looks at you or comes over to you when you do that, praise him and give him the treat. Once he is pretty responsive to that, then only say his name without the other noise and give a treat and praise when he responds to his name all by itself. Have a few short training sessions where you practice this, then just practice saying his name randomly throughout the day when he is not expecting it, and rewarding him for looking at those times too. For the outside part, take it in small steps. If he is really scared simply sit on your door mat outside with him for a long time. Practice some fun, easy tricks or commands with treats (like "Watch Me"), play games that he enjoys like tug of war or fetch, bring a food stuffed Kong with you for him to chew on and get the food out of, and generally just make the experience outside fun and distracting enough that he is focused on you and your fun activities instead of the scary things around him. When he is more relaxed while outside close to home, practice the same thing further from your door. Continue practicing the fun outings in new places, starting with calm locations first and gradually moving onto harder ones as he improves. Try to act calm and confident when he is nervous, instead of babying him or acting worried. Try to help him feel up beat and happy, instead of being worried - your confidence will help him feel confident too. When he is more confident about going outside, start taking him to as many places as you can, starting with easier, calmer locations first and working up to busier/harder locations as he improves. Some good places to go with him are: -Friends' homes -Calm parks -Different neighborhoods -Pet Stores -Busy parks -Farmers Markets -Outdoor malls and shopping areas -Puppy class (I highly recommend going to one of these as soon as he can handle basic outings) -Tractor Supply Stores Reward him when he is being calm or brave about investigating new situations. Keep treats or puppy food in a baggie on you for several months when you are with him so that you can use them to help him associate new things with something pleasant. Have friends or any strangers who want to meet him feed him food when he is being calm. When he can handle basic outings, I highly suggest finding a really great puppy class that has time for off leash play, socialization, and if possible passes the puppies around the classroom and practices having human class mates gently touch them while feeding treats to get them used to being handled by other people too. See if there is a SiriusPup puppy class in your area, or look for something similar. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Liza
Silky Terrier
2 Years
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Liza
Silky Terrier
2 Years

Hi
we got our dog, Liza, as a rescue a week before Christmas. she is two years old, and think she has been abused. she is very skittish, especially with men. she will not leave my bedroom. if we make her leave, she has an accident on the floor. the person we got her from said she stayed in a back bedroom most of her life. how should we get her used to being out in the house with us. we take her outside regularly, but if we are even ten minutes late she will pee on the floor. how can we housetrain her? also, she will not walk on a leash. we can hook a leash on her, and she is fine as long as we do not try to make her go anywhere, but when I start to gently pull on the leash to get her to move, she starts jerking her head around and trying to throw the collar off. do you know how to help her get comfortable on a leash?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Eva, For the leash walking I suggest practicing one of the methods from the article linked below to teach her to how to respond to leash pressure - she essentially needs to learn that when she feels pressure that that means walk toward you and she will get a reward, instead of thinking something scary is happening. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-your-puppy-to-accept-leash For the general fear I highly suggest hiring a professional trainer to help you. Look for someone who is very experienced with traumatized, fearful, abused, neglected, or otherwise extremely timid dogs. She likely needs a combination of things to happen to help her with her fearfulness. She probably needs to learn to associate scary things with pleasant things like food. She probably needs to build overall confidence through learning obedience, thoughtful games, and easy canine sports (like a small tunnel or tiny ramp set up in your bedroom for agility). She does need exposure to a lot of different things, but this needs to be gone in a way that challenges her but shows her that those things are also pleasant or at least safe at the same time, without overwhelming her or just avoiding everything. Honestly, don't expect results overnight. Be patient, knowing this type of fear can be a gradual process. It sounds like she was not socialized with almost anything during her life and that can take time to work through. The whole world is new and scary and she needs to learn through lots of little, frequent steps that the different things that make her nervous are actually safe. She also needs to build her bond, respect, and trust for you by gradually working on some general obedience or trick training (probably just in the bedroom right now). For the pottying, if you can make progress through very carefully adhering to a schedule, I highly suggest continuing with teaching her to use the bathroom outside. If that is simply too hard for her, then I suggest using the Exercise Pen method from the article linked below and a disposable real grass pad instead of a litter box or pee pad - you can use a litter box but it will probably be a bit harder to train than a grass pad. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Grass pad (also sold on amazon) https://www.freshpatch.com/products/fresh-patch-standard?variant=3477439297&gclid=CjwKCAjwkcblBRB_EiwAFmfyy5IqYXhbsJRH0d6Z_vyyRbfRnKUevlhEHBGM7tcNQC09h-Rf3IQ2fhoCzAMQAvD_BwE Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Toby and Rufus
Hounds
2 Years
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Toby and Rufus
Hounds
2 Years

Hello I adopted two hounds from the humane society. One who is Toby who’s 4 and Rufus who is 2. Dog control picked them up and brought them to the humane society. The humane society believes that Toby and Rufus didn’t “cut it” to be hunting dogs, so they got dropped off and no one claimed them. My friend thinks someone tried to train them to become coon dogs and from what I was told to do that some people will beet them so they become mean. I adopted them both almost a week ago, I didn’t want to separate them from each other. These poor boys cower anytime anyone goes near them or if they hear a loud noise. Toby has gotten a little better and is now even excited when i get home from work and will come out of my bed room to visit with me (I believe this is their safe place), But Rufus still will cower anytime anyone goes by him or at any loud noises, all he does all day is sit in my room and hide until it’s time to go outside. But even then he’s scared with his tale between his legs and crouches when he walks. I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried treats but he won’t even eat them. He will sniff them and I will tell him it’s okay, I’ll even set it down on the floor and he won’t touch it. I know it will take time and I try not to get discouraged with him but I wonder if it would have been better if I just adopted one of them. Maybe Rufus would be better off with someone who can be home with him all the time and he can have the one on one attention he may need.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rececca, If it has been less than a month since you adopted them they likely still need time to learn to trust you. When a dog is overly stressed he will often not eat. As Rufus becomes more familiar with you, he may get to the point where he will take treats and let you work with him more. At that point to can do things like positive reinforcement training, treats for courage and friendliness, taking him on walks to calm places in the heel position (nervous dogs need structure), and eventually begin socializing with other things. Be patient if it's early and you are willing to work with him, he likely needs some time to settle in. It could be a long road ahead honestly, but some dogs will surprise you and make progress quickly once they get over the initiate fear of you. Whether or not you should re-home him will depend on the type of time and commitment you can give, but also whether you can find someone else who is more able to rehabilitate him. If you do decide to re-home one of the dogs, I suggest contacting a rescue that Foster's dogs. Many of them also let people do courtesy listings, which is where the current owner keeps and cares for the dog while the rescue looks for a potential adopter for them. This helps to take the financial burden off the rescue, doesn't require a foster home to be available, and still helps the current owner find a loving home for them. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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duke
Mix
1 Year
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duke
Mix
1 Year

We rescued duke a mix breed of chihuahua, pug, beagle about a month ago from the humane society. He came from a different state and no information was given on him. After being with him for a few days we suspected abuse and possible abandonment. He is a loving dog, but he will only let us pet him on his terms. He has tons of energy and loves to be outside in our fenced in back yard. I have recently started taking him to group training classes. The instructor confirmed our suspicions and said yes just by observing him she could tell he was abused. So training is going very slow. Since we are in a group training its hard to customize training to him. THe only issue i really need to stop him from doing as soon as possible is "play" biting. I have a 3 year old and he gets really rough and scares her. He is always mouthing my hands and jumping on her and trying to get her to play by biting her. when he gets nervous he also will nip at me. I know it takes time and patience which im willing to put in but i need some help now with how to let him know it is not ok to bite at all, even play mouthing or biting.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Shell, Check out the article linked below. With his history I suggest working on the "Leave It" method, since that method trains his mind and is less physical or intimidating. While working on "Leave It", until he gets good at that and develops the self-control he needs to stop, also work on the "Bite Inhibition" method found in that same article. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Finally, if Leave It will not work, then the next step is to work on "Out", and when he disobeys your "Out" command while biting your daughter (once you have taught him what it needs), get between your daughter and him and calmly but firmly walk toward him to herd him out of the room, to show him that you want him to respect her space. By doing it this way you are effectively telling him with your body language that she belongs to you and you want him to respect the space in front of her. This makes it so that it is his respect for you that helps with the biting and not just his respect for her. Expect to have to do this over and over again a lot at first until he sees that you are calm and firm and mean it. Consistency and a bit of stubbornness on your part are the keys here, instead of force and intimidation. Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ducky
Pitt bull
6 Years
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Ducky
Pitt bull
6 Years

This is my best pal Ducky. A while ago he wandered up to a fire station as a shell of the puppy dog he is today and was picked up by a coworkers husband, I then took him in. The vet told me he was almost certainly used as a bait dog in dog fighting. He had bite marks and open cuts all over him, torn up ears, broken ribs, burns, and was absolutely covered in fleas and demodectic mange. We spent a lot of time rehabilitating him physically and emotionally. Lots of surgeries and slow introductions later and he’s totally healed and okay with all kinds of people! He’s such a love bug and craves attention from everyone around. We only have a few remaining issues that I’m hoping to get some help with.

1. While he loves all kinds of people, he absolutely hates other dogs. He’s gotten better about not being defensive when he sees or hears other dogs, but if they get too close he loses it. Lots of growling, salivating, and firm in his stance. He has never lunged at another dog but did get into an altercation with one that lunged first (one of my parents dogs, un-neutered male). How can I help him with this?

2. He can’t be left alone at home. He’s gotten up on my table before and eaten out of a chocolate bowl we kept on there. He chewed blinds while sitting on the back of the couch so he could see out of the window. He’s scratched paint from my doorframe from leaving him in there instead of my houses downstairs. I’ve been reading up and it seems like leaving him in a crate while I’m gone is the best option but he just gets so anxious when left alone. I don’t love the idea of a crate but I’m open to it if there’s a way I could help him with the anxiety of being left alone, whether in a crate or not. He just cries all day and stresses to the point of making himself puke. What can I do?

3. I thought there was more but that’s actually it! He’s a perfect baby and I just want to do what I can to help him with his fear and anxiety.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Marian, I absolutely recommend crating him. Check out the article linked below and follow the "Surprise" method to introduce the crate first. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate If he has true separation anxiety, then the surprise method will be a good start but likely not enough to completely solve the issue (for many less anxious dogs it is enough by itself though, so try that first). If he continues to have issues in the crate, then check out the separation anxiety protocol from the article and included video linked below. The trainer from the video can come across as harsh in his blunt teaching style with people but he is very experienced with highly reactive, fearful, and aggression dogs, and a standard separation anxiety protocol can take months or years to work. His protocol tends to work much faster - helping the dog feel calmer and less anxious in the long run. Working with a trainer on this could also be very beneficial, depending on your own level of training experience, whether this is something you feel comfortable tackling. https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2013/02/21/separation-anxiety-im-not-seeing-it-at-my-place For the issues with other dogs, there is definitely trauma related to other dogs in his past if he was used as a bait dog, so his reaction is not surprising, it's actually a better reaction than many dogs with a similar history would have. I suggest hiring a trainer to help you with that so that you will have access to the resources you really need to help him. Look for someone who is very experienced using structure, boundaries, counter conditioning, desensitization, and confidence building exercises to help him. Essentially he needs boundaries, like learning a Place command, a very focused Heel, a long down stay and other things that challenge his impulse control, build respect and trust for you through stimulating him mentally, and encourage calm energy - anxious dogs tend to need extra structure. He needs counter conditioning - which is where you pair the presence of something he is currently afraid of with something he loves, but you do it at a distance that he can still react correctly at - meaning the other dog is far enough away that he notices them but doesn't act aggressively or dart away. As he improves, you gradually decrease the distance. The other dog that you practice with should be calm at first, and only reward him while he is behaving appropriately, which might mean rewarding him BEFORE he has a chance to react poorly, in addition to rewarding him after he calms back down or if he stays calm while looking at the other dog. You need to desensitize him, which is where you make the thing he is afraid of 'no big deal' and boring, helping the dog feel neutral about it. One way to do this is to practice something focused, like obedience commands in a location where other dogs are in the background but not being directly addressed. Work at a distance that is far enough away that your dog is able to focus on you still and the training you are doing with him, and decrease the distance as he improves. Another way to do this is to practice walking past the same dog over and over again with a certain amount of distance between them, rewarding your dog for calm responses and interrupting aggressive responses, until he can simply ignore the other dog and relax around them. Finally, work on building his confidence in general - which you may have already done. Teaching agility can help with this. You don't have to join an agility class to do this either. Creating a simple course in your own backyard and helping him overcome the new things can help with confidence building. Things like tunnels, jumps, A-frames, seasaws, and balance boards can all be a bit challenging and new and making it into a fun activity where you work your dog through it can help a dog feel more confident when done correctly. Some forms of trick training can also help with this too. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Dante
German Shepherd
1 Year
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Dante
German Shepherd
1 Year

We just got this dog and he is very gentle, bit very nervous. He won't come anywhere near us unless we sit on the ground. My challenge right now is that I would like to take him on a walk or get him to the vet for his shots, bit I can't get anywhere near him to put the leash on. He also won't come into the house, even of I just leave the door open and walk away.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Haylie, First, I suggest purchasing a chew proof drag leash without a handle, or a handle that can be taken off. Check out VirChewLy leashes - they can be purchased on Amazon and chewy.com When you are finally able to get close enough to clip a leash on, leave a drag leash on him while you are home to make working with him easier, and even more importantly, to help him get used to the feeling of the leash. Right now work on hand feeding him his meals (when he improves enough to take food from you), working on tossing him treats and his meal kibble whenever he is acting calm - so that he will associate your presence with something pleasant, and generally spending time outside with him relaxing - don't pay a lot of attention to him unless he asks for it, but spend time where he can see you to help him get used to your presence. As he builds trust for you, gradually get closer and closer to the door to go inside until he will follow you back inside. Once you have him back inside, I suggest using a long leash kept slack to take him potty outside (not a retractable leash but a training leash). A long leash will give less pressure while he is still adjusting to it, but allow you to get him inside again and manage him. If your yard is fenced, stick to only taking him into fenced areas in case he tries to fight the leash while adjusting to it and pulls away from you (using a long leash will allow you to pick it up again even if you let it go while he is in a fenced area). Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Oakley
Saint Bernard
4 Years
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Oakley
Saint Bernard
4 Years

Oakley was abused a lot as a puppy by his male owner then was rescued by a vet who gave him the proper medical attention he needed. We then adopted Oakley from her and he came to live with us at my dads house, after about a 8 months we decided that it wasn't working well because the others didn't get along with him. So we then moved him to my moms house where he is the only animal and hes been there for a little over a year. When he first got there it was a challenge because he doesn't trust new people at all. After about two weeks we finally got Oakley to somewhat trust mom and he still doesn't trust my step dad. A lot of people come and go at moms house so hes been getting exposed to more people and we thought he was getting better, however, this past weekend he actually bit someone instead of just barking. The woman he bit he has been known for a long time and we don't know how to make him trust people.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Christina, I highly suggest hiring a professional trainer who specializes in fear aggression to help you in person. Ask questions and look up reviews or request client referrals while looking for a trainer in your area. Not all trainers are experienced enough with aggression. Many trainers only handle obedience or sports dog training and not behavior issues. There are a variety of protocols you can do to help fear-aggressive dogs improve and better manage their behavior as well, but it's extremely helpful to have a trainer who is experienced with it and can adjust the training as you go, depending on Oakley's stress levels, tolerance, body language, and improvement during training. Unfortunately fear and aggression does take more experience to tackle sometimes. Check out the YouTube channel from the trainer linked below. Many of his videos are geared towards dogs with different types of aggression than what you are dealing with, but he also works with fear aggressive dogs and those types of dogs also tend to benefit from the same structure, confidence building exercises, and protocols that he does in general, including the video linked below: Aggression protocol with people: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Notice in the video above the use of a back lie leash and the tape line on the ground that keeps the "stranger" safe while practicing the training with the dog - in case the dog decides to lunge. Also, notice that the dog is only rewarded while he is being calm and tolerant and not while he is growling, lunging, barking, or doing something else that is unwanted. Always wait until a dog is displaying a behavior or mindset that you want more of before you reward the dog, even if that means rewarding during the one second they were doing well. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Sweet Pea
Lab mix
1 Year
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Sweet Pea
Lab mix
1 Year

I just adopted Sweet Pea from a shelter. She is very protective of me and our other pup Drake who is 10 weeks old and growls at my husband. We took her to meet one of our friends child as we didn't know how she would fair with them and she growled and barked at the baby. She seems calm most of the time and I don't know what to do to get her to be less aggressive or to not growl at people. She is very skittish and when in a new place or meeting a new person it will take her about 30 minutes for her tail to come off of her abdomen. And even then her tail will not wag it will just hang there as if she needed to make it curl up again.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Anna, It sounds like she is very fearful, lacks socialization, and is possessive of you - which looks like protectiveness but lacks respect for you and healthy confidence. She needs an intensive behavior modification protocol that involves confidence building, structured obedience, desensitizing her to fears, and a lot of consistency. She needs fears dealt with, respect for you and your husband built through consistency and obedience commands, trust build through consistency, obedience commands, and desensitization. Aggressive - possessive dog and structure: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/good-dog-transformations/the-good-dog-minute-111913-kellan-nervous-fear-aggression-case-comes-for-rehab/ Leash reactive fear aggressive - nervous dog - notice the trainers calm and confident body language, the structure, the consistency, and handling of the dog to set up the expectation to stay focused on the person and not other things. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8WEi9BfTIc Heeling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHwcvjWOaII Laying the foundation for a fearful, aggressive dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bT0lyPdZ6mk People Aggression and desensitization: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A I highly suggest hiring a trainer to help you implement the training and behavior modification needed - especially because she has shown aggression toward your husband. You husband matters more than the dog, as much as we love dogs!! Hire someone to help you to keep him safe. I also suggest getting her used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle around the house as long as she is still behaving aggressively toward your husband. You can use her daily kibble and treats to make the muzzle rewarding and introduce it gradually. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bjorn
American Bulldog
3 Months
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Bjorn
American Bulldog
3 Months

I rescued a three month old American Bulldog from a shelter, and he was terrified of everyone but me. we were really close for the first few days, I mean really close he only stayed by me. He would not go down the steps to go outside to the bathroom so I had to carry him myself, and he is almost 30 lbs so he is heavy. While we were going up the stairs, I fell backwards off the Deck with him. I actually broke my toe, but I broke his fall so he didn't get hurt at all. Now he is absolutely terrified of me, it's been a week now and I just can't get him to like me again. I've even cried over this, I'm desperate for help. Please if you have any tips.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Shannon, A week is not a super long time for a very fearful puppy, so try not to panic. Trust is about being loving toward a dog AND providing consistent leadership that they can feel secure following. I am sure you have been very loving toward him. He may benefit from more leadership. First, use his meal kibble as rewards for him coming near you or simply being calm around you - feed him all of his meals when you can, one piece at a time whenever he is calm around you, you first enter a room and he doesn't run, he comes up to you, lets you touch him, follows you, or generally chooses to be near you in some way. When he is back to wanting to be near you - even if he doesn't fully trust you yet, then work on teaching him commands using his meal kibble, using lure reward training. When he resists something, very calmly let him work through it instead of giving up on that challenge most of the time. For example, if you were teaching him agility (which is great for building confidence) and he was afraid to jump over an obstacle, instead of giving up, lower the bar to the floor and hurry him across it several times so that he will see he can do it. Praise and reward when he succeeds. When he is more confident going over it that way, put it on the first notch so that he has to jump slightly when you run up to it. Gradually raise it as he improves, giving him baby steps to get there and being patient with him but still working him through his fears to help him overcome them instead of avoid them. He needs opportunities to gain confidence by gradually overcoming fears - instead of just avoiding them, but he needs you to be very patient, confident, and calm yourself to help him. Just remember that he was fearful in general when you got him - you didn't create that. He was more relaxed around you than most and something accidentally set him back, but you are not responsible for his scared personality right now. He was already fearful in general. Instead, try to focus on helping him make forward progress, knowing that him needing to build confidence was always something you were going to have to do with him - even if the stairs incident hadn't happened. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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May
Cane Corso
3 Years
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May
Cane Corso
3 Years

Hi! So I just adopted may about 3 weeks ago, she is very attached to me but is very scared of my boyfriend. We believed she was abused very badly by a male. He works a job where he is gone a lot and when he comes home she won’t go near him if I’m not there. She goes around him fine if I’m around, but only if I’m close by. When he is home I leave often to give them time to bond, but the whole time I am gone she is as far away from him as possible.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tristen, Check out the article linked below and the section on shy dogs and humans. Have your boyfriend practice things like ignoring pup while she is across the room and tossing treats to her without making eye contact or noise, whenever she isn't acting fearful of him. When she can handle being close to him, you can start to incorporate him into things like training and walks with you and her. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ Also, make sure he isn't yelling or roughhousing around her. Calm and confident is the attitude you both want to have around her. Don't comfort her when she acts scared and comes to you. Instead, act like it's no big deal and try to act upbeat and confident - the way you want her to feel right then. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Dozer
Miniature Schnauzer
7 Months
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Dozer
Miniature Schnauzer
7 Months

We just got Dozer about 3 months ago from a rescuer who said he was abused. He is a very sweet dog but our issue is that he screams (not barks but literally screams) at the slightest noise or movement that may startle him. I will take him outside and something will set him off and he will scream so loud several dogs on our block will start to bark. He goes on for a good 1-2 mins even when we try to calm him. When he does it while in the house the noise is deafening and he also pees every time he does it. This has been a problem from the beginning and I feel like we have tried everything and it hasn’t gotten any better whatsoever. Is there anything you could suggest we do? I absolutely hate that he’s so scared all the time.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Paige, I suggest finding a trainer to help you in person both at their facility and coming to your home. Look for someone who works with other trainers and have access to dogs and a staff who can all work with him to help socialization. He needs a lot of confidence building, Desensitization, structure, counter conditioning, and to learn things that teach him how to cope with his own anxiety- like a long Place command. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Indigo
Boxer Pitbull Terrier
1 Year
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Question
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Indigo
Boxer Pitbull Terrier
1 Year

I've only had the dog for a week tomorrow (Monday). She's pretty skittish. It wasn't until yesterday Shes barked for the first time. Today when I took her for a walk near where I work I saw several interns from work and She started barking at people. It makes me nervous that she might become aggressive once she becomes comfortable around me. Is there anything I can do to help her not to bark when she meets people specifically Men?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Bekah, She is likely barking out of fear. Many fearful dogs will act scary to keep people that they are afraid of away from them. The best way to prevent fear aggression is to deal with the fear. What you can begin to do is to make the presence of new people a very positive experience for her. Whenever she sees a new person, when she is still acting calmly while they are at a distance, praise her and offer her treats for looking at the person calmly and for looking at you for direction. As she begins to get more confident, then you can gradually decrease the distance between her and the strangers, keeping her far enough away still while you reward her, for her to feel safe and remain calm. Overtime that distance should gradually decrease. It is important to remain very confident, upbeat, and happy yourself while you interact with her and praise her. Do not baby talk or sound nervous or angry but simply confident and happy. If you can get friends or family to help you then you can also utilize their help to build her confidence. To do this, have them come over one at a time to your home or meet you in a public place, as if he or she is a stranger that you are meeting. Have your friend stand still and ignore your dog while talking to like normal in a calm and friendly voice. Allow your dog to approach him when she is ready, while your dog is investigating, have your friend toss treats onto the floor near her while ignoring her still. When your dog is acting very confident around that person then your friend can gradually increase giving her normal eye contact, talking to her, and eventually touching her gently. Allow her to initiate the interactions as she warms up though, so that she will feel safe. Have as many people as possible help with you, one at a time, focusing especially on men. If at any point you feel like she does have a true aggression problem, then I would contact a local trainer in your area with experience in dealing with fear aggressive dogs. Somewhere with multiple trainers might be the most helpful because they will be able to utilize lots of new people, who are all experienced in dealing with dogs. These new people will be strangers to your dog even though they are trainers, so can help with the socialization also. Best of luck in training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Penrod
Mixed / chow/terrier/shepherd
7 Years
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Question
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Penrod
Mixed / chow/terrier/shepherd
7 Years

My boyfriend has three rescue dogs. Two are very calm, but the third, Penrod (female), was obviously horribly abused. She adores her ‘dad’ / my boyfriend but is terrified of me & all strangers. Making eye contact and offering an open hand to her will cause her to react out of fear. When Penrod & I are in the room alone, she growls and/or barks incessantly at me, even though I’m giving her lots of space and NOT making eye contact. Yesterday, I discovered that talking to her in a calm, soft voice upsets her/causes her to bark. When I was quiet/stopped talking to her, she calmed down & stopped barking (Penrod & I were in my boyfriend’s car while he ran inside a store for a quick errand). I always bring treats in hopes that it will help, but she won’t even accept treats from me.

Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated. I know she just wants to be loved but is gripped by fear. Ideally, I’d like to expand her trust circle to others once I figure out how to win her trust in me.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Joanne, It sounds like she needs a lot of structure, confidence building, and work with aggression in general to create the foundation needed for her. Check out the video below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1IH8BFVKRk Check out this video by Jeff Gellman, who specializes in aggression. Here he demonstrated safety measures (a back tie), when to have people reward a dog (during calmness and not during aggressive displays), and how to appropriately use punishment when treating aggression (with good timing, calmness, and in combination with positive reinforcement for calm behavior and with the appropriate safety measures for your guests). Your boyfriend will need to be the one to work with the dog until she trusts you also, then you can continue the training when she is comfortable enough around you to be safe. Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Have him teach her a Place command and work on her staying on place for up to an hour, even when he walks into the other room for a minute. Practice crate manners. Work on teaching a structured Heel. Forget about getting places during a walk for a while right now, instead go somewhere open, like your front yard, a park, or culdesac and practice a heel where her nose does not go past his leg. You need to hire a trainer to help you with the aggression and you need someone who uses a lot of boundaries, positive reinforcement and fair discipline tactfully. Look for someone who is very experienced with aggression and different types of aggression - many trainers are only experienced with fear based aggression and you likely have some dominance- based or territorial aggression going on too, and they are treated a bit differently than fear. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 This is the foundation for working on the fear-aggression, but additional things will need to happen once a good foundation is set. You will want to gradually have her working for her meals, one piece of food at a time, doing agility obstacles with you when she is comfortable with you but needing to build confidence in your leadership, and practicing the above exercises with her when you are in a very good spot with her to build her respect and security around you. All of this needs to be eased into one step at a time. It sounds like you are at risk for being bitten so I recommend hiring a trainer who help you with getting her comfortable with you - any dog can bite and a fearful one is far more likely to. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Henna
Blue Heeler
7 Months
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Henna
Blue Heeler
7 Months

Hello! Henna is belived to be a blue heeler,pitbull, Australian Shepard and many more breeds. She is about 7-8 months old and came from an abusive home. As soon as I got her I noticed that she attached herself to me right away. She likes my fiance but acts differently around him so I'm thinking she was abused by men. I have also noticed that she pees all the time. I take her out every hour and she still pees on the floor in our apartment, which isn't good. My fiance says we need to get rid of her but I want to try and train her so we can't. With my other dogs they were already potty trained when I got them so this is new. I also bought her diapers to wear when inside and she just chews them off! She also acts like a shadow to me when I'm doing chores around the apartment and it drives my fiance up the wall. He doesn't understand why she can't just lay down. Is there anything I can do to help her in that situation as well!!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sabrina, First of all it I suggest a visit to your vet. If she is peeing more than once an hour, whether outside or inside she could have a urinary tract infection or other medical issue that needs to be addressed with medication to clear it up - I am not a vet so I highly suggest a visit to your vet to get that tested. There is also a place where you can ask a vet a question on the medical articles section of wagwalking.com but ultimately you will probably just need to see a Vet too. Once anything medical is dealt with, then you can pursue potty training more successfully. I suggest crate training. You can feed her her meals in the crate in stuffed hollow chew toys to give her something to do while in there. This will also teach her to self-entertain, self-soothe, and handle being alone better. The food doesn't have to be given all at once. Buy several hollow Kongs or other durable hollow chew toys and ration her food into them. Google different ways to stuff a kong for ideas on how to make Kong-popsicles, make the food last longer for her, add fun things, ect. Check out the Crate Training article linked below for details on how to potty train using a crate. Crate training will only work once any medical issue potentially present is resolved - if she can't hold it because of an infection then she will just have accidents in the crate too, but once anything physical that needs addressing is addressed and the issue is just behavioral, then a crate should encourage her natural desire to keep a confined space clean and 'hold it'. Check out www.primopads.com for a non-absorbent bed option if you need one. Do not put anything absorbent in the crate with her or that will mess up the training. Crate Training method for potty training: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside In addition to practicing the steps in the Crate Training article for introducing the crate, also work on crate manners, opening and closing the door, to decrease the amount of crying in the crate you may get. To learn how to do that, check out the video linked: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Also work on teaching her a long Place command and working up to her being able to stay on Place for 1-2 hours with a chew toy to chew on - you can also use food stuffed Kongs for this if you would like. A solid, long Place command is a great way to teach a dog to be calm and not pace in the house. https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-place-command-the-good-dog-training-tips/ In general, structure can benefit her anxiety, teach calmness, self-control, self-soothing, self-entertainment with chew toys, and keep your boy friend happy. Focus on potty training first. When she is ready for more freedom because she is potty trained, then give her a schedule where she is expected to stay calmly on Place or in the crate the majority of the time, but given time for learning new things, exercising, and simply hanging out with you guys in between the structure. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Lacey
Rottweiler
5 Years
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Lacey
Rottweiler
5 Years

We recently got our dog from a shelter, she is terrified of the two men in our family. Both have long hair and beards, we think she may have been abused by a male. She is absolutely fine with females, though new people she is always a bit wary of. What is the best way to help them build trust? She wont take treats from them and growls and barks when they walk in the door and keeps her distance. They have been trying to help her get used to them by sitting and offering treats but it doesnt seem to work because she can't calm down. What should we do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Cassidy, When a dog is truly stressed they will not accept food. Food will be a later step in their relationship probably. I suggest hiring a trainer who has a lot of experience with fear to help you. Anxious dogs tend to benefit from a lot of structure so I would suggest spending a lot of time teaching her structured things that build calmness, such as the commands I have linked below. Place is especially important - and you should work up to 1 hour plus long place to help with anxiety: Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Teaching her to work with you should help build her respect, confidence and trust in you - so that she can depend on your direction while nervous around others, and teach her how to cope with her anxiety in general a bit. I suggest hiring a trainer at this point who can help you incorporate the guys into the training sessions - things like having them walk parallel to you on the other side of the sidewalk and you calmly rewarding her with confident sounding praise while she is calm or a tug toy if she will play, and slowly closing the gap between everyone overtime. Teaching her how to perform some basic agility can help build confidence, like jumping over something, going through something, following your direction around objects, walking up ramps - you can build basic agility equipment, buy it, or use other obstacles that resemble agility equipment. When she can run through the course with you, then have the trainer show you how to hand her off to one of the guys and have them encourage her through the course. Be patient and don't expect up close interactions with the guys right away, this is more of a working relationship with a little space between them and her at first, and there is a task that she should be focusing on and rewarded for doing well at so that she has somewhere to direct her focus other than them - her reward may be a toy or praise until she will take food. Also give her time to warm up to them. Interrupt any aggressive behavior, telling her to cut it out. Don't act sorry for her, give her structure, and calmly and genuinely praise her for calmness tolerance, and any attempts at being friendly toward them and calm around them. When she relaxes around them more, then they can have her work for her meal kibble by doing tricks and commands for them that you have taught her, and as random rewards for her generally being calm - as a rule, don't reward a dog that is displaying aggression while they are acting aggressive - only reward during the seconds they are calm. You get more of the behavior you reward and you don't want more aggression and fear. You can use a correction to interrupt any aggressive displays - even aggression due to fear, but you really need a trainer to show you how to do this correctly, and how to also use a lot of positive reinforcement to encourage the behavior and mindset that you DO want so that the correction is brief and the main focus is positive reinforcement. Avoidance at this stage in their relationship with her is okay - aggression is not. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ernest
Poodle mix
5 Years
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Ernest
Poodle mix
5 Years

Hello! We just adopted Ernest a couple weeks ago, who was found as a stray in CA and sent up to the WA shelter we got him from. We obviously don't have much information to go on, but we think he may have been previously abused by men as he's less comfortable around me than my wife.

We don't force interactions, but he will give us a wide berth as we move normally through the house. Any approach triggers a retreat, even to give treats. (Which he will wait sometimes up to an hour before eating off the ground.) He'll spend hours (sometimes the better part of a day) in the bathroom just sitting there.

We want him to become more comfortable with us, and he seems to be very slowly warming up to my wife, but he still seems very wary and distrustful of me. I know it's going to take a while and I have no expectations of quick progress, but I would love to know some things we can do to help him on the avoidance behavior front.

Thanks!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jordan, I am actually going to give you similar advice to another who just asked about a similar situation. When a dog is truly stressed they will not accept food. Food will be a later step in your relationship probably. I suggest hiring a trainer who has a lot of experience with fear to help you. Anxious dogs tend to benefit from a lot of structure so as he warms up to your wife, I would suggest having her spend a lot of time teaching her structured things that build calmness, such as the commands I have linked below. Place is especially important - and you should work up to 1 hour plus long place to help with anxiety: Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Teaching her to work with her should help build his respect, confidence and trust in her - so that he can depend on her direction while nervous around others, like you, and teach him how to cope with his anxiety in general a bit. I suggest hiring a trainer at this point who can help you incorporate the you into the training sessions - things like having your wife and Ernest walk parallel to you on the other side of the sidewalk and her calmly rewarding him with confident sounding praise while he is calm, or with a tug toy or treats if he will take them then, and slowly closing the gap between everyone overtime, until he is going on structured heeling walks with the family - calm walks are a great way to build relationship once you can get close enough. Teaching him how to perform some basic agility can help build confidence, like jumping over something, going through something, following your direction around objects, walking up ramps - you can build basic agility equipment, buy it, or use other obstacles that resemble agility equipment. When he can run through the course with your wife, then have the trainer show you how to hand him off to you and you encourage him through the course. Be patient and don't expect up close interactions right away, this is more of a working relationship with a little space between you and him at first, and there is a task that he can be focusing on and rewarded for doing well at so that he has somewhere to direct his focus other than the fact that you are close by - his rewards may be a toy or praise until he will take food, but he will likely start to take food as things improve, which will make training easier. Also give him time to warm up to you. Any aggressive behavior can be interrupted carefully, telling him to cut it out. For both you and your wife, don't act sorry for him, give him structure, and calmly and genuinely praise him for calmness, tolerance, and any attempts at being friendly toward you and calm around you. When he relaxes around you more, then you can have him work for his meal kibble by doing tricks and commands for you that your wife has taught him beforehand, and as random rewards for him generally being calm - as a rule, don't reward a dog that is displaying aggression while they are acting aggressive - only reward during the seconds they are calm. You get more of the behavior you reward and you don't want more aggression and fear. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Diablo
Pit bull
10 Months
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Diablo
Pit bull
10 Months

I’ve only had him 3 days I can’t get him to come to me he will eat he won’t walk down stairs so he don’t go outside unless I pick him up he just got fixed on Thursday I don’t know what to do help

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Toby, First know that it is early and pup is still adjusting a lot. His refusal to walk down stairs may also be partially due to the surgery and things being sore - you may want to consult your vet about that, and the rescue where he came from, to see if he was previously afraid of stairs or that may be linked to soreness from surgery. If the issue is fear and not pain, check out the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/use-stairs For the coming, sit down - so that pup is calmer, and toss pup his dinner kibble one piece at a time without making eye contact. Do this as often as you can. Keep enough distance between you for pup to relax enough to eat the food. As he gets more comfortable, decrease the distance by tossing the treats slightly less far, so that pup has to come closer to you to eat them. Watch pup's body language to determine when pup is relaxed enough to decrease the distance - don't rush this process but do practice often at the current distance. When pup will come within a foot of your chair to eat the food and is relaxed at that distance, start to practice this in other positions like standing up, sitting on the ground or laying down. When you change positions, you will likely need to go back to tossing the treats further away again because the new position will probably make him nervous. Once pup will go up to your chair when you are sitting or in one of the other positions and is even more comfortable with you in general, put on a harness or martingale type collar that pup cannot get out of on pup. Spend time slowly introducing the harness using the method from the video linked below once pup is comfortable enough to get closer to you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn5b8u1YS_g&feature=emb_title Choose a secure, front-clip type harness. Ideally, practice this in a fenced in area since pup may be a flight risk if very fearful. Clip his leash on the harness and go on a walk. Don't rush this - be aware of pup's body language and any tensing up. Definitely practice in a fenced area if available, even though that will mean walking back and forth a lot. Once pup will do the above, practice hand-feeding him the dog food and walk him regularly to develop trust. When you get that far, also teach him commands and tricks using positive reinforcement to further build trust. Check out the article linked below for teaching come once pup is comfortable in your presence. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall If pup came from a foster based rescue, you may also want to reach out the them and see if pup is normally shy, was slow to warm up to them, or if this behavior might be unusual for them and related to something else. Most likely pup was simply not socialized well by previous owners, is transitioning to something very new so feels insecure, and may not have lived in a home with stairs before - so needs practice and patience to get familiar with them. The first month with a new dog tends to be a lot of transitions. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Helen
Cockapoodle
6 Months
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Helen
Cockapoodle
6 Months

Our newly adopted 6 month old puppy was adopted from a dog meat farm in Korea and has horrible trust issues with humans. She is also deaf which is an additional challenge. We currently have another dog whom we have had for 3 years now and is wonderful. One day, we had to go to work and leave the dogs at home. However, both of the could not stop howling and barking when we left the house. Because they couldn't stop barking and howling, I ended up not going to work and had to stay at home with them. This is definitely not ideal. We initially thought that having a companion for our other dog would be amazing but it seems to be doing the very opposite. It is very difficult to train our newly adopted puppy. We would hate to give up on her but we would love to somehow make it work as well. Please please please help.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Natalie, A few things: I would work on confidence building exercises such as agility obstacles, trick training, and obedience that builds self-control and calmness. Add more structure into her routine, things like making her work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching her to remain inside a crate while the door is open. Structure can seem counter-intuitive but a lot of anxious dogs benefit from calm leadership that's super consistent. Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Place command: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-place-command-the-good-dog-training-tips/ Heel: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Change your routine surrounding leaving so that she does not anticipate alone time and build up her anxiety before you leave - which is hard for her to deescalate from, and be sure to give her something to do in the crate during the day (such as a food stuffed Kong to chew on); this is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time for some dogs. Another protocol involves teaching the dog to cope with their own anxiety by making their current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, giving them an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it tends to work much quicker for many dogs. If you go this route, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced using both positive reinforcement and fair correction. Who is extremely knowledgeable about e-collar training, and can follow the protocol listed below, to help you implement the training. Building her independence and structure in her life will still be an important part of this protocol too. The protocol below is best followed with the help of an trainer who is very experienced with with behavior issues like fear and aggression. First, purchase a high quality e-collar with at least thirty stimulation levels and vibration. Look for a high quality brand such as E-collar technologies (mini educator), Dogtra, Garmin, or Sportdog. Pay attention to weight ranges on these when choosing one. High quality e-collars can give much smaller/gentler corrections and are far safer than random unknown brands bought overseas. Have her wear the collar around for a bit to get used to the feel of it. Next, find the correct level of stimulation to use for her training, called her working level. You can try just the vibration also, but some dogs actually find that harsher than a super low stimulation level - a high quality collar shouldn't be super painful just odd feeling and really noticeable for her to get her attention. Modern collars are not like the old fashion shock collars. To find the working level, wait until she is simply standing around acting boring and not distracted. Without saying anything, push the stimulation button for a second. Watch her to see if she responds. This response might be subtle like scratching, acting like a bug is on her, shaking her head, looking around, moving away from where she is, or something else. She might yelp out of surprise, but if you are using the lowest level and a high quality e-collar a yelp is typically due to surprise. If she seems overly sensitive to the collar you can use the vibration setting instead but vibration tends to be harsher than low stimulation for many dogs. Repeat pushing the button three times at the lowest level and watching for a response. If she does not respond, increase the level by one and watch for a response again while you test that level out three times. Continue increasing the level by one and watching for a response, until you reach a level that she responds too - If the collar you are using has a lot of levels, like the Mini Educators' one hundred levels, then many dogs won't even feel it until around level ten. It all depends on their own sensitivity level, which is why you find each dog's individual level. Check out the video linked below, demonstrating finding the correct level for a dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Next, set up a camera to spy on her while she is in her crate. You could use a GoPro with the Live app on your phone, two smart phones or tablets with Skype or Facetime with her end on mute so she won't hear you but you can hear her, a video baby monitor, security camera, or any other camera you have that you could watch her from outside on. Once you have the correct collar stimulation level and she is calm and relaxed again, start your leaving routine, put her into the crate, and go outside. Drive down the block and walk back if she isn't convinced you really left. From outside, watch her on the camera. When she barks or tries to escape from the crate, push the stimulation button on the remote for one second. Repeat the correction every time she barks. This will probably take a few repetitions before she starts to connect the stimulation on the collar with her barking. If it doesn't improve after seven corrections, increase the collar level by one, and again by one if she still doesn't respond. When she pauses barking for four seconds, while she is quiet, go back inside, sprinkle a few tiny treats into her crate without letting her out or talking to her, then leave again. Repeat correcting her when she barks from outside, going inside and sprinkling treats when she is quiet then leaving again; do this for 30 to 45 minutes each session. After about 45 minutes, while she is quiet, go back inside for good. Leave her in the crate and ignore her for ten minutes. Correcting with the e-collar without acknowledging her if she barks at you from the crate. After ten minutes, while she is calm, go to her and let her out of the crate using the method from the article linked below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn5HTiryZN8 You generally want to encourage calmness around the crate - being overly excited, anxious, or worked up can make separation anxiety worse because of the chemicals released into the body. Expect to need to repeat the crate collar training several times for 45 minute sessions for her to realize that the results are always the same and she needs to be calm and quiet in the crate. You can do this more than one time each day to speed up the process, just make sure she has breaks in between each session to unwind. When she is quieter in the crate, then when you leave, give her a food stuffed chew toy, like a Kong, to help with boredom and to automatically reward her for staying quiet. This method helps prevent her from working up into an anxious state and breaks the cycle of getting super worked up every time you leave, then rewarding her and calmly returning while she is calm helps her learn to stay calm while you are away instead. If you can break the anxious cycle the accidents in the crate should improve if they are anxiety related - which it sounds like they are. While practicing all the training you may want to keep a 4-6 foot drag leash on her around the house while you are home so that you can direct her easily and calmly. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bellatrix
Pit bull
10 Months
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Bellatrix
Pit bull
10 Months

I just got her from. The humane society she’s was having issues with peeing on the bed when in wasn’t home so got her a crate. I put a blanket that I used for my scent and she still peed. She’s peed in the bed at night even though I take her out before bed and I don’t give her water 2 hours before that. She also ahas an issue with her dry food and won’t touch it unless I put a little hot water to soften it. But that wastes whatever she doesn’t eat and he doesn’t poop enough for what she’s eating. I don’t know her her history she is extremely timid but slowly warming up and wanting cuddles which I always provide. She does have anxiety if I leave she follows and checks to make sure I’m still there. But I’m still concerned with the amount of food she’s not eating I put about a cup and a half of the dry food and she goes for the water I’ve taken the water bowl away and then she just stares. Helpppppp

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Joshua, First, don't put anything absorbent in the crate. For the crate to help there needs to be no absorbent material in it, including shirts, towels, or a stuffed dog bed. Check out www.primopads.com for a non-absorbent bedding. Check out the crate manners protocol linked below for building calmness around the crate - calmness and structure exercises can often help with anxiety: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn5HTiryZN8 How to introduce the crate if you haven't already - the Surprise method is what I recommend for most, but you can use the other methods in addition or in place of: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate I also suggest teaching Place. She will likely seem nervous at first while practicing this - it's hard if for her if she has anxiety, but it helps her learn how to cope with her anxiety in a safe and calm way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Second, I suggest not letting her on the bed right now. She may have a history of potty training issues from her old home and associate fabric with pottying, and need to avoid that until she is in the habit of pottying outside only and a bit more secure so less likely to submissive pee. A nervous dog actually really needs a lot of structure, calmness and confidence from you, not pittying or babying too much (not suggesting you are now - but in general), and working on confidence building exercises like agility, tricks, and obedience: Agility obstacles for confidence building - you don't need to attend a class; you can create your own simply obstacles out of things in your yard or PVC pipe if you want to. By all means continue to love on her! Just work on teaching her how to work through you nervousness and build her confidence through the right level of mental stimulation and challenge to help her grow and learn to trust and respect you - dog's tend to feel more secure around those who are confident and calm. For the eating, many dogs will not eat while afraid. If she is very stressed, then you may need to make the food more appetizing temporarily, and be sure to feed in a super calm place where she doesn't feel like others are hovering around. To make the food more enticing I suggest adding something you can scale back on to phase out later and something that will absorb or cover the food well so she can't just eat around it...A freeze dried meat kibble topper can be crushed into powder, placed in a ziplock with her food for the next day, shaken up, and left overnight. This should make the kibble taste like the kibble topper. When she is less stressed, you can gradually decrease the amount of kibble topper powder over time. The food can then be reused later since it's not wet. Look for kibble toppers in the dog food isle. If she does just fine eating the food when wet but not dry I would have your vet check her teeth out and make sure there is not a dental issue causing her pain when she chews. If there are any other symptoms of a digestive issue, like diarrhea, not going potty enough, going potty too much, starving herself, throwing up, lethargy, ect...I would definitely see your vet and make sure there isn't a medical issue to blame. It could be behavior due to fear, but it's just as likely to be medical, and a tooth issue and digestive issues or food ingredient allergy are definitely something I would want ruled out if she was my own dog - I am not a Vet, just a trainer and fellow pet parent though. Some young dogs will drink water just for fun, and limiting water intake to smaller amounts multiple times a day, instead of whole bowl fulls that can be constantly guzzled, is important. Pups need sufficient amount still and it spread throughout the day, but you can ration when and how much. Be aware that drinking and peeing a lot can be related to a medical issue too though. An infection, a kidney issue, a hormonal issue, diabetes, ect...When in doubt speak with your vet. If it's behavioral, then keeping water on a schedule like you do with food, but more frequently and extra after exercise and while outside, is generally what's recommended. If it's behavioral many pups will outgrow the excessive drinking as they mature and find it less fun. Withholding water from dogs that have a medical reason why they are drinking a lot can be dangerous though so if in doubt consult a vet. There is also a Ask a Vet section under the medical articles section of WagWalking.com too. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Sasha
Goldendoodle
3 Years
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Sasha
Goldendoodle
3 Years

She’s sensitive around my dad and she’s more responsive towards me I hear her cry whine whrimper my dad bites her and she may have sensitivity my dog was abused and left alone and she’s my child adoptive I don’t think
My dad gives her love he bites her what can I do make my dad stop ignoring me and respond better to Sasha

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Denise, Did you mean to spell bite or was that supposed to be another word? If he is biting her as a way to build respect, then giving him other practical ways to build her respect may help. There are specific commands he can calmly practice with her to build respect without instilling a lot of fear at the same time. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Working method and Consistency method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you If you didn't mean bite and something else is going on, please submit another question explaining what exactly is going on and I would be glad to help how I can. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Anubis
Gotti pit
1 Year
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Anubis
Gotti pit
1 Year

We found our dog at abandon hospital w a gapping hole in it's next and puncture wounds all over him . He is so loving to me and my BF he barks at everyone especially kids he scared so bad

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello April, Based on his past he understandably probably has fear aggression. I would seek professional help for a case with that traumatic of a history. Check out Jeff Gellman from solidk9training on Youtube, and specifically his videos on fear aggression (opposed to other types of aggression). He likely needs confidence building exercises, calm leadership, and a ton of counter conditioning with people, especially kids. All of this needs to take place with safety measure like strong back tie leashes or a basket muzzle on to keep everyone safe, especially kids, because a fear aggressive dog will bite even though afraid. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYI8vhRLxG8 Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Kid aggression - this should only be done with safety measure and professional help to ensure kids are safe and know what to do to stay safe and away from the dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n0_27XY3z4&t=26s Desensitizing to kid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYs76puesAE&t=14s Also work on focused heel for walks - walks need to be very structured with a fear aggressive dog: Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bonnie
Miniature Bull Terrier
7 Years
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Bonnie
Miniature Bull Terrier
7 Years

Hello, my mom's dog 🐕 Bonnie, seems to be afraid of baths, getting wet, loud noises(ex: fireworks,thunder, yelling, etc.) What can I do to help train her to be ok with this kind of behavior? I know some dogs don't like fireworks or thunder but at least can stand them both.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Donna, I suggest desensitizing pup to the sound of fireworks using low volume recordings or fireworks and thunder and associating the sound with good things - distracting pup from the noise and rewarding pup whenever they respond well. Check out the article linked below for more details on how to do this, and especially the Firework-phobia Therapy section of the article. The same training can be done for other noises they are afraid of but you will need to tackle each noise separately and use recordings of each noise. There are also free recordings of noises online. https://www.labradortraininghq.com/labrador-behavior/help-dog-scared-of-fireworks/ For the water, outside in a secure area, like a porch or fenced in yard, run your hose on low away from your dog and sprinkle treats between your dog and the water. Do this for 30 minutes a day several days in a row until pup will come close to the water voluntarily to eat more of the treats. Gradually get the treats close and closer to the water so that pup has to choose to come close to the water and even under the water to reach them. When pup is comfortable with that, use a cup or your hands to lightly put some water over their back while you feed treats in your other hand at the same time. Gradually increase the water exposure overtime as pup becomes more relaxed - don't rush this, you want to encourage pup near the water but if you suddenly spray them or force it you will break their trust in you around water and it will take even longer. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Queso
chihuahua and dachshund
5 Years
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Queso
chihuahua and dachshund
5 Years

We adopted him from the shelter. He was from a shelter in Texas and was brought to our local shelter in Wisconsin. We knew nothing about his background but sat with him in the shelter. He sat in my lap, looked at people coming and going with no fear, mostly indifference to everything. Had him sit in my hubby's lap, the same thing so we were excited to bring him home. We have a Japanese Chin who likes everyone so that went well and they get along.
We had to housetrain or retrain him, and he got the idea smashingly quick with chicken and hot dogs and lots of praise. Our problem is, he is scared of my husband. When he enters the room, there is fearful charging.....then he sees it is his new Dad and he is sorry. It's almost like Queso is saying, "It, not you, it's me." He is happy to see him come home. He comes over, then gets totally in his own head and slinks off. At bedtime, Queso will snuggle up to my husband, which is kind of frustrating. Queso really seems to like my husband just isn’t comfortable with him, because he is a man. He isn’t a dog that jumps in your lap right away but really tries when his sister is around.
Queso really relies on his sister for social cues. When he sees the neighbors he totally avoids them. If she is around he will let them pet him. LIttle kids, he isn’t fond of, but he knows he will get lots of treats if he lets them pet him. So I know he understands.
I feel bad for my husband and Queso, I just am at a loss what to do. Dogs love my hubby, so I know it was his past. How can I bring these two together?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Melissa, First, if he is a recent addition then know that sometimes it can just take some time so try not to become discouraged, especially since it sounds like your husband is patient with him and cares and isn't just making the issue worse. I suggest having your husband practice two things with him. First, have him be the one to feed him dinner, but as often as he can he should make pup "work" for his food. This can look like your husband simply sprinkling the treats around himself so that pup is just rewarded for being in his presence. He can have him perform simply commands or tricks and receive a couple of treats each time, practicing until the dinner meal kibble is all gone. He can have pup work for food by tolerating touch - which would look like feeding pup a piece of food while he gently touches him somewhere and as soon as the treat is gone the touch stops. This can help desensitize pup to touch and make it more relaxing for him. For example, have your husband touch his shoulder while he gives a treat. Touch his chest and give a treat. Touch his ear and give a treat. Touch his paw and give a treat. Touch his collar and give a treat, ect... Second, have pup practice regular obedience, tricks or other commands with your husband. Having pup work for your husband is a great way to build trust and respect without confrontation. Dogs tend to feel more secure around those they respect in addition to trusting. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Hailey
German Shepherd
2 Years
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Hailey
German Shepherd
2 Years

So I got Hailey to train as a service dog and she does great! She is a super sweet girl and shows no aggression. When I got her she was so scared of men if one of them so much as looked at her she tried to run away. She is doing better now she will approach them if I do and not be scared. But she is still frighted of fast movements. She is also scared of other dogs. She will hide behind me if another dog comes near her. She also will not leave my cats alone. I don’t think she wants to hurt them but she will bite at them... is there anything I can do to get her use to fast movements without scaring her? And a way to get her to be nicer to the cats?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kailey, For the fast movements I suggest desensitizing her to them gradually. Go somewhere where there are fast moving things like bikers but you can control how close they get to you, or recruit a friend to ride their bike or something else fast around (being careful not to let her get away from you - use a collar or harness she cannot pull out of your hand or wiggle out of if her running away is a risk). Position her far enough away from the moving thing that she notices it but can still be engaged with using her favorite toys or treats or games. Do her favorite activities in that area - watching the moving thing. Such as hiding treats in the grass, practicing known tricks, practicing formal obedience like heeling, playing games like tug on a long leash. Generally take her mind off of the movement and give her something else to do. Whenever she starts to fixate on the movement or tries to bolt, tell her "Ah Ah" and calmly correct, get her attention back on something fun - that may mean temporarily putting more space between her and the movement to get her focus back. Whenever she is tolerant and calm around the movement, give extra fun/treats/rewards and praise. As she becomes more comfortable around the movement, gradually decrease the distance between the movement and where she is - until she can handle it going right by her (expect this to take months not days). As far as the issues with other dogs, you need to hire professional help from someone who specializes in behavior issues, fear, and aggression. As far as the cats, how to address this depends on her intent toward the cats. Is she just chasing them for fun or is there a lot of prey drive present and she wants to harm them? Mild cat issue - teaching impulse control: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWF2Ohik8iM Moderate cat issue - teaching impulse control using corrections and rewards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dPIC3Jtn0E Severe cat issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MLJV5PBh7Y More e-collar work with cats with the same dog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8lkbX0dhT0 Work on impulse control in general with pup, by teaching things that increase impulse control and calmness - such as a long, Place command around lots of distractions. Practicing the command until you get to the point where pup will stay on Place while you are working with the cat in the same room. You can also back-tie pup while they are on place - connecting a long leash attached to pup to something secure near the Place just in case pup were to try to get off Place before you could intervene. This keeps kitty safe while practicing, and reinforces to pup that they can't get off the Place. The leash should be long enough that pup doesn't feel the leash while they are obediently staying on the Place because there is some slack in the leash. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Below are some other commands in general you can practice to help pup develop better impulse skill/self-control - impulse control takes practice for a dog to gain the ability to control herself. Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the room: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Zeus
Pit bull
3 Years
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Zeus
Pit bull
3 Years

My dog is a rescue and has come a long way in the almost 2 years we've been together.. however he still gets significantly defensive when meet some people. The only trend I can really notice is men, or people particularly wearing hats or something that obstructs their face. Even when they aren't near us or interacting with us he gets tense and sometimes barks

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Olivia, I would hire a trainer who specializes in behavior issues, aggression, and fear. Look for someone who has a training staff who can practice the training as different "strangers". Check out the video linked below for an example of how to desensitize pup to people who appear strange to pup. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXCELHDT2fs I would work with a trainer to do the above so that pup's body language and reactions are being carefully read to know how to go about the training, when to let people meet, when to give more space, to prevent further fear or a potential bite. As the video mentions, desensitize pup to the strange clothing articles without a new person - with someone pup likes first, before practicing with strangers without the odd items, then with strangers wearing the strange items. Only reward pup for good responses, such as calmness, ignoring the odd thing, a friendly response, or wanting to sniff and investigate things in a good way. Anytime your pup isn't reacting poorly you can reward, but don't reward when pup is reacting poorly because in training you essentially will get more of whatever behavior you reward and you don't want more aggression or more fear. Acting calm and confident yourself can also help. Try to avoid acting nervous, angry, or sorry for pup. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Leia
Parson Russell Terrier
5 Years
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Leia
Parson Russell Terrier
5 Years

She’s a rescue. When we adopted her about 2 years ago she was very timid. After about a month she showed her true self. I am her owner and worked with her for a long time to gain her trust. My husband is loud and animated. Apparently, whoever abused her was just like him. I took her to training for 7 weeks. Dog trainer said she was physically hit by a humans hand. She bit my husband once when he was reaching towards me. Ever since that time he has no patience with her and now she barks at him all the time and growls at him. She feels the need to constantly protect me and I think he hates her. He ignores her and she cannot ignore him. If he is unwilling to work with her there is probably nothing I can do to train her otherwise. Contemplating calling the rescue and returning her after 2 years and it’s breaking my heart. She’s a very sweet girl. Not sure if her exact age. Shelter said 4 when I got her but Vet said 2.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jo-Ann, First, personally I will say that your marriage and husband comes first. She can be happy in another home if the rescue is willing to find the right fit for her, so take that into account with what I am about to say. Her protectiveness of you is actually likely a form of resource guarding and shows a lack of respect for you - so that needs to be addressed too. Look for a trainer who specializes in aggression, anxiety, and problem behaviors in general. It is very possible that she was hit by a man but many dogs are diagnosed with that when the issue is actually a combination of genetics, a lack of socialization and the fact that men are harder for dogs to tolerate to begin with - which can easily lead to fear aggression. This makes it less situational and more related to the dog's temperament. I would start with putting pup into doggie bootcamp in your home in a less confrontational way. Pup needs to learn not to guard you - that's 100% never acceptable in these types of situations for any dog. A dog is never more important than human family members and can't come between relationships - As I know you know because you are struggling with a very hard decision here!! Practice the following commands and methods with pup. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Working and Consistency methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Some confidence building exercises may also help her overall attitude. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elvtxiDW6g0 Check out this video by Jeff Gellman, who specializes in aggression. Here he demonstrated safety measures (a back tie), when to have people reward a dog (during calmness and not during aggressive displays), and how to appropriately use punishment when treating aggression (with good timing, calmness, and in combination with positive reinforcement for calm behavior and with the appropriate safety measures for your guests). Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A More aggression videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIJoEJfTS-E Desensitizing to things associated with certain types of people - in this video it's kids activities, but in you case it would be your husband's animation and excitement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYs76puesAE Find a trainer with this type of real-world experience - both with fear and aggression, not just one or the other. Ask for previous client referrals or reviews to see whether the trainer has actually been able to help people with these issues - there is a lot of theoretical advise out there but you want someone who has actually seen what really works vs. whats advised by those who haven't actually done it. I with you both the best! I am very sorry you are in this situation and having to make such a hard choice. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Korra
Whippet
1 Year
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Korra
Whippet
1 Year

About three months ago we adopted Korra, (no one was exactly sure of her breed) Before we adopted her we were to informed of her past which included being abandoned behind a dumpster in Puerto Rico as a young puppy and she was never able to trust anyone from that point. after a rescue got a hold of her the adoptions started she has been through at least 3 different homes no one was able to keep her due to her timidness. it appeared that Korra only got along and found comfort in other dogs which is understandable considering her start in life. Korra currently runs from strangers, she would bark and growl. Korra would then appear to shut down and curl up in a ball and freeze. Korra has learned to trust her new family (my wife and me) but to a certain extent if We move too fast she will run from us and she gets startled easily

My question is how can I help build her trust in, not only her new family but other people around her. My wife and I see so much potential in her and just want whats best for her we see that she just wants to be loved. We become heartbroken when we see such fear in Korra and we just want to help her.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Holly, I would work on confidence building exercises through obedience, trick training, and obstacles. Obstacles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPxUXvWawpk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHKgNY5QZTk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUUjOljBeGc Practicing things that require impulse control can also be good, such as a long Place command, down-stay, structured heel, touch hand on command, and attention where pup is rewarded for looking at you. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Apollo
Pit bull
2 Years
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Apollo
Pit bull
2 Years

I'm not sure the back story to my pup other than theythink he was abused he's a lab/pit mix but he's a great dog except when I leave he chews on stuff almost like he has separation anxiety. How can I work with him?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I can speak from experience. My dog would chew everything in the house. The couch, CD cases, pillows, etc. I began crating him when I was out. Every evening, prepare a kong with moistened kibble and a smear of peanut butter (all natural - no xylitol as it is toxic to dogs!). Freeze the kong in a ziploc bag. When you leave, give Appollo the kong in the crate. He'll take a while to get through cleaning it out as it is frozen. Soon, he'll run to his crate every time he sees the kong. You won't have to crate him forever - I did for a year and then my dog was fine and no longer chewed. I would take Appollo to obedience classes. It helps you to form an excellent bond and gives Appollo the skills to socialize and gain confidence, making him a happier dog and less anxious. With the warm weather, outdoor training classes should be starting soon. Good luck!

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Roscoe
Lab mix
6 Months
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Roscoe
Lab mix
6 Months

Somebody dropped off this sweet sweet dog at my house. He has clearly been abused as he wants to come to us for love but doesn't. I decided to keep him after I saw how badly he has been abused. We have 3other dogs. My question is how can I gain the trust of a dog that really want come near us. He wants to but he is so scared.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Elizabeth, First, know that it often just takes time and that's normal. Second, check out the article linked below and the section specifically on socializing a shy dog with humans. Start with some of the low key exercises, like tossing food to pup while avoiding eye contact just to associate you with something pup enjoys. There is a good chance pup won't eat the food until you walk away after but that's alright in the very beginning. Toss a bit of food slowly, then pretend like you are going to get something in another room so pup will eat. Feed pup his meals this way if he will eat the food. Once pup will eat with you in the room, you can gradually toss the food less far so that pup comes close. Gradually increase soft eye contact and soft talking - don't add in touch at first though. As pup gets comfortable with you, then there are other exercises also found in the article that you can progress too, like games and obedience with pup to build their trust for you - it might sound funny but doing something more structured can be a good way to build confidence once the dog can handle being next to you and being touched. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ When pup can handle all of the above things, starting agility with pup would be great for pup probably. It doesn't have to be a busy class. You can build a few simple obstacles in your own yard if you have the space, using things like PVC and wooden boards - there are lots of DIY articles online, or you can purchase a few premade agility items online. Working pup over obstacles and helping them overcome new things can really boost a dog's confidence once pup is ready for that type of work. That will be later though, work on the food and pup just wanting to be in the same room with you like I mentioned above first. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPxUXvWawpk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OseD7TRwsPQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elvtxiDW6g0 Finally, once pup is comfortable being near you and can handle light touch, begin desensitizing pup to more touch. Use pup's daily meal kibble to do this. Gently touch an area of pup's body while feeding a piece of food. Touch an ear and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Hold his collar and give a treat. Touch his tail gently and give a treat. Touch his belly, his other paws, his chest, shoulder, muzzle and every other area very gently and give a treat each time. Keep these times calm and fun for pup. Wait to start this until pup is more comfortable with you though - you want to be careful to avoid a fear bite by doing this too early. I would take a picture of this response and come back to it later...Some of these things pup won't be ready for for a few months, like the agility. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Cooper
hound mix
7 Years
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Cooper
hound mix
7 Years

My roommate and I found Cooper as a stray a year and a half ago. We tried to see if he had any owners despite his poor condition when we found him. No one claimed him so we have taken care of him ever since. We believe he was abused by a male since he is wary and usually pees submissively around men. Cooper stress pees in other situations as well and my roommate and I don't know how to stop it. A good example is sometimes we can't get him to get off the couch to go outside. When we call him to go outside he pees on the couch. He used to do this if we touched him to move him, which we learned to stop doing. Now we don't know how to get him to come outside and not pee submissively. Do you have any tips?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Christine, While you are home to supervise I suggest keeping a drag leash on him so that you can just calmly walk up to him and lead him where he needs to go while this is still an issue. Reward him with a treat for following and complying if he is acting calm. I also suggest working on some commands, exercises, and games that can help desensitize pup and build his confidence. Practice structured things like Place, Heel, Stay, Come, and Off very calmly, matter-of-fact, using mostly positive reinforcement methods - your energy should be calm and matter of fact though. Work on teaching games and tricks that require him to overcome obstacles, solve problems, and learn slightly challenging things. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OseD7TRwsPQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPxUXvWawpk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elvtxiDW6g0 As far as strangers interacting with pup, check out the article linked below and the section on humans and shy dogs for some ideas. Start with easy things that involve the person pretending to ignore pup while rewarding them for any calmness, tolerance, or curiosity. Don't reward things you don't want like growling and hiding. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ Finally, in a neutral place where the peeing is less of an issue - such as outside in a calm fenced-in yard environment, practice regularly desensitizing pup to handling and touch. Use pup's daily meal kibble to do this. Gently touch an area of pup's body while feeding a piece of food. Touch an ear and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Hold his collar and give a treat. Touch his tail gently and give a treat. Touch his belly, his other paws, his chest, shoulder, muzzle and every other area very gently and give a treat each time. Keep these times calm and fun for pup. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Rosie
Unknown
7 Years
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Rosie
Unknown
7 Years

Rosie is rescue dog we adopted 2 years ago. We were told she came from a "hoarding situation." While meeting Rosie at the shelter she barely moved, she appeared terrified but did allow herself to be put on my lap but then refused to move again. She cowered against me and SCREAMED if she was touched or moved. The attendants said the screaming was just a behavior but the Vet did a thorough checkup before we took her home and could find no physical reason for her behavior. Once we got her home she continued cowering for a few days but then began following me from room to room never allowing me out of her sight. She continued to scream if she was touched or moved even if it was just to pet her or clip her leash on. We have now had Rosie for 2 years and although some things have improved slightly, overall her behavior has not changed. She continues to scream when she is touched. There are times once or twice a day that she will initiate contact and will sit next to me and allow herself to be petted. She is extremely wary
though and will only sit for sometimes just a few seconds before screaming and moving away. She will not tolerate having a collar, harness or leash put on and will BITE if I try to put one on her. We've had to use puppy pads for her to go to the bathroom on but she prefers going on carpet or rugs. She is very protective of me and my daughter and continues to need to be within sight of me. She has a particular dislike of adolescent boys and barks and growls at my son at times. She seems obsessed with food and will eat everything she's given, everything she can get a hold of and will eat from the garbage if able despite never having gone hungry in our home. We've fallen into a routine that is not great but I refuse to give up on Rosie so it's what we've had to do. I would like to know if there's anything we can do to help Rosie at this point or if she's just been too badly treated in the past to be rehabilitated.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Firstly, bless you for taking Rosie into your home and doing all that you can for her. You've been great so far and I am glad to hear that there has been improvement. You may benefit from looking for a trainer who specializes in dogs that have fear and have had a tough start. Ask your vet for a recommendation. Online, there is a trainer named Robert Cabral who works with shelter dogs that need a lot of help; he has a website with Skype training: https://www.robertcabral.com/. I think you are doing the right thing by letting her come to you. Have treats in your pocket and give them to her as a reward when she comes near. Have your son do the same - he does not have to approach her but when he is in the same room, have him toss treats to her, and over time, decrease the distance between him and the treats. He does not have to touch her, but just let her know that he is kind and not scary. I'm sorry I cannot help you more but I think that Rosie may be able to get even more comfortable and confident if she gets the chance to work with someone who knows how to deal with the situation in a non-threatening way as you have been doing. All the best to you and Rosie.

I have a similar problem with my dog, Charlie. When I adopted her from a shelter, I was told she's been abused (she has cigarette burns on her ears and God knows what else she went through). She was also in a hoarding situation. I've had her almost 9 months and feel like she's starting to trust me a bit more but is scared to death of a leash. I have to put one on her or she won't come in the house from the yard, but she's very fearful and has even growled. I'm scared she's going to bite me. Just wondering if you've had any luck with Rosie and hoping you can share any tips.

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Jak
Flat Coated Retriever
1 Year
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Jak
Flat Coated Retriever
1 Year

My dog always scratched on a door if it’s closed and even when I’m in there he continues to scratch the door opened and my dad is not happy about this so he never lets the dog inside and makes him stay outside no matter what the weather is like and never lets the dog in the car and I have never been able to take him to the vet to see if he has his shots up to date. My dog also has a scared face and he never looks relaxed, is there anything I should worry about?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. It is unfortunate that Jak is not able to come inside. I do hope that he has a nice, cozy dog house, barn, or garage to go in when the weather is bad. Perhaps talk to your dad about that and discuss your concerns about Jak not looking relaxed and always being scared. Do your best to spend time with Jak outside; play games and show him affection and love. I am sure that the attention that you give him will go a long way to making him feel better. Make sure that he has plenty of good dog food and fresh water to drink at all times. It is good of you to check up on Jak and show your concern. All the best to you and Jak.

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We named him gabru
Labrador Mix
5 Years
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We named him gabru
Labrador Mix
5 Years

We have just rescued a dog. We are not aware of his age. He his very silent very low. We are not getting the problem he has. Please help

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, if Gabru is still settling in, he may be somewhat subdued. Of course, he'll feel a bit anxious and uncomfortable for a few days (or longer). I recommend giving Gabru his space if he needs it while still being kind and affectionate when he seeks attention. Above all, however, it is very important to take him to the vet just in case he has an illness, parasites, worms, etc that could be making him feel unwell. A checkup to make sure his health is good and some antiparasitic medication to ensure all is well is the best idea. Give Gabru a treat now and then so that he learns to know that you are kind and are there to care for him. As well, lots of walks outside to explore and sniff is always good for a dog's morale. So, the vet checkup is the first thing to do. All the best!

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May
Cane Corso
3 Years
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May
Cane Corso
3 Years

Hi! I rescued May about 2 weeks ago and you can tell she was badly abused. She is completely fine with me, but she is terrified of my boyfriend when I’m not around. If I’m around he pets her and she is all over him with love. But the second I leave she is terrified of him and doesn’t come within 10 ft of him. Any suggestions on how to get her to trust him would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tristen, Check out the article linked below and the section on shy dogs and humans. Work on the treat tosses, walks, and training commands, as a gradual progression as she improves, to help build their bond. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ Also, know that it's early. Time and proactive training should both help Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Toto
Chihuahua
6 Years
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Toto
Chihuahua
6 Years

My foster dog was rescued from a hoarding situation three years ago. He was taken to a rescue facility where he lived for three years. In all that time nobody was able to get him to accept being touched. He is not aggressive, but if anybody tries to touch him he backs away. The only time he became aggressive and did bite people was when they attempted to put a leash on him, so he still does not accept a collar or a leash. I met him five months ago, and then brought him home three months ago and I have been hand feeding him. It is the only form of touch he will accept. I use a mat/place that he has learned to stand on to get hand fed, but that’s as far as I have gotten. All the articles I have found on the internet mention having a leash on the dog when training them to accept touch, but that is not a possibility for me.Because I cannot get him to stay in place when I reach for him I fear I will never be able to break this fear he has. He does come and sit next to me and follows me wherever I go, so I know there is a level of trust he has developed toward me. I have two other dogs that he socializes with and in all other ways he is a sweet dog. Can you please offer me some suggestions? We do not have the funds to hire a professional trainer, so I am truly on my own with this endeavor.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Anne, I suggest working on behaviors that cause him to do the touching. Teach pup to touch your hand using a bit of peanut butter on the palm of your hand. Once pup will come forward and "Touch" your hand to get the peanut butter, then reward with a separate treat so that pup touches then gets the food after. How to Teach Your Dog Touch section: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIGr7OLXJfc When pup can do a basic touch confidently with your hand, start reteaching it with different parts of your body - such as pup touching your leg, your other hand, foot, side - while sitting, ect.. Get pup comfortable touching you in various locations of your body. When pup is completely confident touching you, then begin gradual desensitization for you touching him - 1. reach toward (but don't touch) then reward. 2. Reach and touch slightly then reward, ect...Practice the reaches with all different areas of his body until he is comfortable with a hand moving toward him without touch first. When he can handle the movement, barely touch him when you reach toward then reward (or reward while touching if needed). When he can handle the slight touches in all areas confidently and calmly (this will take time), then keep you finger or hand on him for one second longer at a time while feeding treats with your other hand each second that the touch is happening. Gradually increase the length of your touching as he improves and can stay relaxed during the training. The training can be done on his mat at meal times - using the meal kibble at touch rewards once you get past the peanut butter stage, as well as at other times during the day to generalize the training once he is doing well in the initial setting. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Winter
german shepard
8 Weeks
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Winter
german shepard
8 Weeks

We have 2 kids ages 2 and 3 1/2 we got winter to add to our family we didnth realize she had already gone through 1 owner before us but the breeder was definitely abusive. Looking for the best tips on helping her overcome her fears she has accidents around the house and we dont get mad we love on her and go outside with her but when we try to clean it up and take her out she tries to bite us as of yesterday. She is afraid of anyone coming near her and any initial contact. She hides and gets stuck under furniture. So were not really trying to train her to go for walks or potty train but we do have pads out and take her out frequently we've had her about 2 weeks were just focusing on getting her comfortable with us but the aggressive side that started yesterday threw us off a bit. Any tips would be soooooo appreciated(husky/shepard)

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Natalie, For the shyness, check out the article linked below. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ For the potty training, I actually suggest following the Exercise Pen method from the article linked below. Instead of using pee pads or a litter box, use disposable real grass pads to make the transition to outside later easier. That method will allow potty training to progress without involving as pup touch right now. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Disposable real grass pad brands - on Amazon too: www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com www.porchpotty.com I suggest using one of the grass cheaper brands before investing in porch potty, to ensure it's going well before spending more, or just stick with the cheaper one in general. Due to the current state of the country, purchasing directly from the brand's own websites may be quicker than Amazon right now. Eventually, you will want to desensitize pup to touch, but pup will need to simply get used to being near people and begin to relax enough that they will take food from you first. Once pup can handle being closer, use pup's daily meal kibble to get pup used to touch. Starting with just one person pup is most comfortable with. Have them touch pup's chest and give a treat, touch pup's side and give a treat, touch paws, each ear one at a time, back, tail, collar region, ect...and give a treat from one hand while you gently touch an area briefly with your other hand. One treat for one gentle touch each touch. Start with easier areas like the chest or shoulder. As pup relaxes, add in more areas, like the head and collar. Practice with pup at least two times a day every day you can- pup can be fed their entire meals one piece of food at a time while practicing this. When pup is doing well with one person, have a second person also practice this, gradually teaching each family member how to do this and adding them in with careful adult supervision. Start with adults and wait until pup is confident enough with your touch to not be a bite risk when this is done carefully with kids, before involving kids. Always do this with kids. Don't let them do this on their own. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Shyla
American Staffordshire Terrier
2 Years
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Shyla
American Staffordshire Terrier
2 Years

Hey, I would love your input for the new dog from the rescue. She’s a 2 year old, sweet girl and seems to have bonded with me. However, I believe she was abused before the shelter got her. She has old scars on her face and permanent bald patches and doesn’t like men. She’s scared of everything. When I introduced her to my dad, we had him sit on the floor with treats and let her approach him. It went very well. But later when we moved to another room, she didn’t like that he was behind her and turned on him so quick that I had to grab the leash. Is there anyway that I can get her to trust my dad? She also refuses to go in a kennel but I’m too nervous to leave her on her own without one... She’s a big girl so I have trouble picking her up and convincing her of anything.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ashley, First, if she is showing any signs of aggression toward your dad, she needs to be desensitized to wearing a basket muzzle before continuing with any of the training I am about to mention, even though its fear related, fearful dogs will still bite. I also suggest hiring a professional trainer to help you if there is any aggression involved, things aren't improving - at least gradually - this may take a while, or things get worse. Look for someone who is very experienced in this area and comes well recommended by their previous clients who dealt with similar things with their dogs. Practice all of the following yourself as well! But I will focus on your dad specifically for the details. Have your dad (or yourself when you practice this) sit down - so that pup is calmer, and have your dad toss pup her dinner kibble one piece at a time without making eye contact. Do this as often as you can. Keep enough distance between them for pup to relax enough to eat the food. As she gets more comfortable, decrease the distance by tossing the treats slightly less far, so that pup has to come closer to your dad to eat them. Watch pup's body language to determine when pup is relaxed enough to decrease the distance - don't rush this process but do practice often at the current distance, a don't reach out to her while she is still nervous, even if close. Have pup wear a basket muzzle for this next part especially if safety is an issue - a basket muzzle has holes for treats to be passed through or you can put peanut butter on the end of a long skinny stick for pup to lick off through the muzzle's holes. When pup will come within a foot of your dad's chair to eat the food and is relaxed at that distance, have your dad start to practice this in other positions like standing up, sitting on the ground or laying down. When your dad changes positions, you will likely need to go back to tossing the treats further away again because the new position will probably make pup nervous. Once pup will go up to your dad's chair when he is sitting or in one of the other positions and is even more comfortable with you both in general, put on a harness or martingale type collar that pup cannot get out of on pup. Spend time slowly introducing the harness using the method from the video linked below once pup is comfortable enough to get closer to you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn5b8u1YS_g&feature=emb_title Choose a secure, front-clip type harness. Ideally, practice this in a fenced in area since pup may be a flight risk. Clip her leash on the harness and go on a walk with pup and your dad. If pup is nervous, have your dad stay several feet away while walking in the same direction at first - with you holding the leash. Again use the basket muzzle during the walk if there is any indication pup may fear bite him - introduced correctly, having to wear the muzzle shouldn't be a bad experience for her, so use it if needed. As pup relaxes during the walk, gradually have your dad get closer until you can hand the leash off to your dad and let him walk pup alone - without you. This might take several sessions before you can do that without pup stopping or tensing up when your dad gets close. Don't rush this - be aware of pup's body language and any tensing up. Once pup will walk with your dad and get close to your dad to eat tossed food, have your dad hand-feed her the dog food and walk her regularly to develop trust further...don't start with that though, that needs to be worked up to. When you get that far, your dad can also teach her commands and tricks using positive reinforcement to further build trust. Check out the article linked below as well, and be aware of pup's body language and not putting her into situations that might lead to a fear bite. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ For the crate training, check out the article linked below. It wouldn't hurt to practice all three methods but really focus in on the Surprise method. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bella
Collie
5 Years
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Bella
Collie
5 Years

Bella is a 5 year old Collie that we rescued January 2019. She was severely abused... Both upper canines were broken in half when they brought her in, and has a few scars on her snout. She also has Lyme disease. Since she is a purebreed, I assumed she was bred until capacity and left astray on the side of the road. The first couple of weeks was tough.. She didn't use the restroom for nearly a week, and she had to reacclimate with everything it seemed as soon as we moved into our new home June '19. Since then, she's somewhat become more reserved in the sense that she used to lie on her dog bed in our living room in our old house (which was larger and more open), but in our new home practically lives in our office which is where her crate is. I've been trying to take notice of her behaviors and change the routine (ex: she used to eat in the kitchen of our old house, but would never go to her dog bowl in our new kitchen until we were in bed hours later... I began to start feeding her in the office, which has been the norm since) to help her acclimate, but she is still terrified of my boyfriend and doesn't want to walk past him. You can tell a man abused her, it is pretty plain as day.

Even after having Bella over a year, I wanted to introduce a new pup into our family, and found the perfect companion... Lola is a border collie mix that is still young at 1 years old. She is very obedient but still full of puppy energy. This is when I began to see a change in Bella's behaviors (bad then good)... Initially Bella was territorial and growled at Lola showing teeth. She is the most reserved, docile dog. Always complimented by the vet and groomer for her demeanor, she never showed any emotion other than fear. So when I saw this aggression, it worried me... But I wanted to let them work it out since it wasn't but a few moments in the first few days of having Lola in the house. After a couple of weeks, I noticed Bella wagging her tail when she went up to Lola in the back yard, which was amazing! She's never wagged her tail so vigorously like that ever! Another couple of weeks and now Bella will go up to Lola, wagging her tail and whining, and then they start play wrestling (which, after the year we've had with her... It is so heart warming to see!!).

With all of that said, I want to ensure that Bella continues to come out of her shell with her new sister, and doesn't revert back to her 100% fearful self (which I believe will always exist)... Do you have any suggestions to ensure this continues??

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Katelyn, I suggest teaching Lola commands like Out and Leave It so that you can direct her when to give Bella space and not overwhelm her. Going on structured walks together can also help with bonding, and generally, calmly, teaching both dogs to be respectful of each other in their interactions. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Keep an eye out for any bullying behavior from Lola as she ages and advocate for Bella by implementing rules and enforcing them if you see that beginning. Give both dogs their own space for eating so that food possessiveness doesn't begin (in their own separate crates works well). Overall it sounds like things are going well and I would continue mostly with what you are already doing, simply keeping an eye out for Lola or Bella getting snippy or possessive with or around each other as Lolo gets older, and addressing it early if you see that. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Gunner
pitbull boxer mix
2 Years
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Gunner
pitbull boxer mix
2 Years

I rescued Gunner the beginning of this year and he came from an abusive owner. All around he's the perfect dog; he's potty trained, listens well, doesn't run away, knows a few tricks, and is friendly with anyone or thing he comes in contact with. But sometimes when he is greeted by someone, sometimes me, he starts peeing and will cower down. Sometimes he will also just switch into flight mode without anything happening and I can't seem to find the trigger. He'll get so scared and cower down, usually while peeing too, and won't move or look at anyone. I've tried treats, giving him space, sitting with him, and just walking away and giving him space. I don't know what else to do but I do want him to think he can't trust me and not live in a constant state of fear.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gracie, First, know that it sounds like he is making great progress and overall doing really well with you this soon. Take heart in that. I suggest having daily training session where you teach him new things or build on things he already knows, to build his trust and respect for you, to help him feel more secure with you. Dogs benefit a lot from what feels like a working relationship together - that can be done through training commands or tricks, or practicing canine sports that require coordination (ones where pup constantly succeeds in overcoming new things are especially good - like agility obstacles). Work on teaching the basic obedience commands like Come, Sit, Down, Stay, Watch Me, Heel, ect...choose methods like lure reward training - where pup is lured into the position using treats and the treats gradually phased out as pup learns. Also, pay attention to what movements or situations seem to set off pup's fear response. It could be something subtle like lifting your leg or arm a certain way, a tense atmosphere, ect...Work on very slowly repeating those movements or roll playing those situations - but in a slower, more gentle form at first, and when you do so, make it fun by tossing out lots of treats or acting silly at the same time you do the movement. Begin to show pup that with you those situations result in a different outcome than what they are used to from their past. Slowly and carefully work on getting pup used to touch and handling. Use pup's daily meal kibble to do this. Gently touch an area of pup's body while feeding a piece of food. Touch an ear and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Hold his collar and give a treat. Touch his tail gently and give a treat. Touch his belly, his other paws, his chest, shoulder, muzzle and every other area very gently and give a treat each time. Keep these times calm and fun for pup. Practice this at as many mealtimes as you can, being aware of pup's body language and careful not to push pup too far or risk a fear bite.If pup is too nervous to take food from you in that situation right now, but is otherwise very food motivated, you may need to pursue less direct routes like the training practices for a while before beginning this - so that pup is overall more comfortable with you first. Check out the article linked below for other ways to help pup in general, including around strangers and any group of people he is more tense around. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bear
German Shepherd
1 Year
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Bear
German Shepherd
1 Year

I got Bear about 2 months ago. He was abused and underweight. When I got him home he didn't eat for 3 days because it was like he didn't know what food was and he definitely did not know what a treat was. He loves me but still if I move too fast is scared but he is extremely scared of my husband. What can we do to help him?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, if he is showing any signs of aggression toward your husband, he needs to be desensitized to wearing a basket muzzle before continuing with any of the training I am about to mention. I also suggest hiring a professional trainer to help you if there is any aggression involved, things aren't improving - at least gradually - this may take a while, or things get worse. Look for someone who is very experienced in this area and comes well recommended by their previous clients who dealt with similar things with their dogs. Practice all of the following yourself as well! But I will focus on your husband specifically for the details. Have your husband (or yourself when you practice this) sit down - so that pup is calmer, and have your husband toss pup his dinner kibble one piece at a time without making eye contact. Do this as often as you can. Keep enough distance between them for pup to relax enough to eat the food. As he gets more comfortable, decrease the distance by tossing the treats slightly less far, so that pup has to come closer to your husband to eat them. Watch pup's body language to determine when pup is relaxed enough to decrease the distance - don't rush this process but do practice often at the current distance. Have pup wear a basket muzzle for this next part especially if safety is an issue - a basket muzzle has holes for treats to be passed through or you can put peanut butter on the end of a long skinny stick for pup to lick off through the muzzle's holes. When pup will come within a foot of your husband's chair to eat the food and is relaxed at that distance, have your husband start to practice this in other positions like standing up, sitting on the ground or laying down. When your husband changes positions, you will likely need to go back to tossing the treats further away again because the new position will probably make him nervous. Once pup will go up to your husband's chair when he is sitting or in one of the other positions and is even more comfortable with you both in general, put on a harness or martingale type collar that pup cannot get out of on pup. Spend time slowly introducing the harness using the method from the video linked below once pup is comfortable enough to get closer to you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn5b8u1YS_g&feature=emb_title Choose a secure, front-clip type harness. Ideally, practice this in a fenced in area since pup may be a flight risk. Clip his leash on the harness and go on a walk with pup and your husband. If pup is nervous, have your husband stay several feet away while walking in the same direction at first - with you (or whoever pup is most comfortable with at that point, holding the leash). As pup relaxes during the walk, gradually have your husband get closer until you can hand the leash off to your husband and let him walk pup alone - without you. This might take several sessions before you can do that without pup stopping or tensing up when your husband gets close. Don't rush this - be aware of pup's body language and any tensing up. Once pup will walk with your husband and get close to your husband to eat, have your husband hand-feed him the dog food and walk him regularly to develop trust. When you get that far, your husband can also teach him commands and tricks using positive reinforcement to further build trust. Check out the article linked below as well, and be aware of pup's body language and not putting him into situations that might lead to a fear bite. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Zita
Labrador Retriever
4 Years
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Zita
Labrador Retriever
4 Years

We adopted Zita December 23rd (currently April 17th) from the local shelter. She’s not a purebred lab, they had her listed as a lab mix and she’s about the size of a beagle. The only information they were able to give me on her is her owner passed away and she went to the shelter with 3 other dogs (already adopted). She was very timid there but assumed that was just because of the shelter, she was excellent with my 2.5 year old son so decided to adopt her thinking she would come out of her shell. Well almost 4 months later she’s still extremely timid, will not play, will not come out of her crate but to go outside to do her duty. Some days she refuses to do that so I wait for her to tell me she needs to go outside which she never does. The only time she moves quickly is when she’s running from my husband who has never done anything to her but show her love. I’m at a loss of what to do with her, she’s never snapped at anybody, she just hides. I feel so bad for her wondering if my home is maybe to busy and loud for her. I don’t know the age of her previous owner or the cause of their death or anything about the condition of her previous home.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ashley, The fear could be from a number of things - genetic disposition and a lack of socialization, in the presence or absence of abuse or trauma, or just one of those things. It definitely sounds like it's time to hire a professional trainer or animal behaviorist, who specializes in behavior issues like extreme fear. Not all trainers are experienced to help with that so do your research and ask lots of questions to find the right person - even working with the right person over Skype during social isolation could be very beneficial. Sit down - so that pup is calmer, and have you or your husband toss pup her dinner kibble one piece at a time without making eye contact. Do this as often as you can. Keep enough distance between them for pup to relax enough to eat the food. As she gets more comfortable, decrease the distance by tossing the treats slightly less far, so that pup has to come closer to your husband to eat them. Watch pup's body language to determine when pup is relaxed enough to decrease the distance - don't rush this process but do practice often at the current distance. When pup will come within a foot of your chair to eat the food and is relaxed at that distance, start to practice this in other positions like standing up, sitting on the ground or laying down. When you change positions, you will likely need to go back to tossing the treats further away again because the new position will probably make him nervous. Once pup will go up to your chair when you are sitting or in one of the other positions and is even more comfortable with you both in general, put on a harness or martingale type collar that pup cannot get out of on pup. Spend time slowly introducing the harness using the method from the video linked below once pup is comfortable enough to get closer to you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn5b8u1YS_g&feature=emb_title Choose a secure, front-clip type harness. Ideally, practice this in a fenced in area since pup may be a flight risk. Clip her leash on the harness and go on a walk with pup and your husband. If pup is nervous, have your husband stay several feet away while walking in the same direction at first - with you (or whoever pup is most comfortable with at that point, holding the leash). As pup relaxes during the walk, gradually have your husband get closer until you can hand the leash off to your husband and let him walk pup alone - without you. This might take several sessions before you can do that without pup stopping or tensing up when your husband gets close. Don't rush this - be aware of pup's body language and any tensing up. Definitely practice in a fenced area if available, even though that will mean walking back and forth a lot. Once pup will walk with your husband and get close to your husband and you to eat, practicr hand-feeding her the dog food and walk her regularly to develop trust. When you get that far, also teach her commands and tricks using positive reinforcement to further build trust. Check out the article linked below as well, and be aware of pup's body language and not putting her into situations that might lead to a fear bite. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ I highly suggest working with a trainer because additional training will be needed, but you need someone who can monitor how pup is doing and tailor the training plan based on that. You will have to do whatever is best for your family in the end, but know that pup would likely act the same way in most other households. Their behavior probably has to do with their own genetics and up-bringing opposed 5o what you are doing now or a busier household. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Rocchi
Cock-A-Poo
1 Year
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Rocchi
Cock-A-Poo
1 Year

He was likely abused, and now he’s too frightened to even eat or drink. How should I make him feel comfortable?

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Hope
German Shepherd lab
4 Years
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Hope
German Shepherd lab
4 Years

I adopted Hope a week ago from a local shelter. She had been removed from a home by Tulsa Animal Wellfare with her 8 puppies. She is VERY timid and shy but is slowly making progress. She stays on the couch most of the time as it seems to be her safe place. She will go on her own into my fenced back yard BUT I have a lot of trouble getting her in. She will come to the door and whine and then back away. I leave my doo open which may be part of the problem. She wags her tail but acts scared. I can’t leave my door open indefinitely. Any suggestions????

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Congrats on adopting Hope and she is very lucky you came along! Thank you for the photo, she looks super cute. My suggestion would be to accompany Hope every time she goes outside. Play with her if she will allow it, give her treats and lots of praise as she interacts. Since she has only been with you for a week, it may take more time for her to be comfortable, but keep trying and keep giving her lots of affection, especially when she seems receptive. Take her on lots of walks and when you find a route that she is comfortable with, take that one often. Bring high value treats along to make the walk worthwhile and to use as praise for going along. One last thought, it could be a fear that the unmanned door will swing closed on her. Again, I think accompanying her when she goes out will give her a sense of safety. Try the Picnic Method described here, but in your own yard. https://wagwalking.com/training/be-independent Good luck and enjoy Hope!

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Libby
chug
7 Years
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Libby
chug
7 Years

This is my brothers dog. Her name is Libby.
I’m not sure how old she is, but I assume between 7-10 years old. She came to us when she was a few years old already. When we got her, they explained to us that she was very abused, and they rescued her from the situation. Every time she would have an accident on the floor, her past owner would hit her really hard and many times, over and over again. If the owner was laying down, they demanded her to lay with her, and if she did not come, they would “beat” her to listen. It’s a very sad story and I cry every time I remember it, so I know it traumatized her even worse than how I feel and I feel awful about it. She always has her ears down unless she hears something outside and barks maybe once, and even that is very rare. Even if the other 2 dogs I have are going crazy barking, she will not bark. My brother is in the U.S Marines, so I take care of her while he is deployed. The other dogs will come cuddle and snuggle up to us, and she just hesitated and her answer is no, but she stares at us very sad looking and I pick her up to come be with us, she will sit there and get pet, but then will leave right when she is done getting pet. She has been around the other 2 dogs the entire time she has been in this family, every single day. We all live together. If I walk up to her, she just puts her head down and looks at me with the Mose saddest eyes. I have never even had to yell at her before. She is a VERY great doggie, and I really want her to know that. She is not confident in herself and I hope she knows that we love her. Is there anyway I can make her start be happy again? We have had her for about 5 years and I thought she would’ve been opened up and happy with us by now. I don’t want her to live like this forever because she does not deserve it.... please help Libby..... thank you very much. Any tips, recommendations, or advice would be so helpful and greatly appreciated. Thank you very much again.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for sending the picture of Libby. You seem to be doing everything right and Libby is lucky to be with you. You are right to not force her into anything - she had too much of that already. I would continue to do what you are doing. Treat her often with yummy treats, take her outside to play, pick her up for snuggles, speak in a calm and loving voice - it is not easy to make a dog that has been abused feel outgoing again. And sometimes it's not a good idea to ask it of them. You really are doing the best for her, so continue the wonderful job you are doing. All the best!

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Bear
Labrador Retriever
10 Months
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Bear
Labrador Retriever
10 Months

Hello,
We recently adopted our sweet dog Bear from a rescue center. The rescue center had taken him out of a home that had abused him/kept him on a chain/etc. From the moment we met Bear, he's trusted my husband and I fully. However, he's been slightly growly/timid/barked at folks who have entered our home. This scared one of our family friends quite badly. We understand that Bear's initial reaction to new people is not trust. However, I'm eager to hear how I can encourage him to know that these folks are welcome and safe. Also, how do we react in these moments to set Bear up for success?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, socialization is key. Work with Bear by getting him out often on neutral ground - take it slowly but give him lots of opportunity to learn. First, he needs to know how to listen: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you The Consistency Method is great. Also, when you doo have people come over, work on having Bear stay calmly aside, not greeting the guests at the door. https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-visitors-calmly. Have guests give Bear a treat when they arrive by using these methods:https://wagwalking.com/training/be-calm-around-strangers. Obedience classes will go a long way toward helping Bear gain confidence. I would enroll him right away. It will also strengthen the bond between you. Have fun training!

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Cooper
Siberian Husky
10 Months
1 found helpful
Question
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Cooper
Siberian Husky
10 Months

My boyfriend and I recently adopted a husky puppy, the shelter didnt give us much information other than he was a stray. He is chipped but the number leads nowhere, once we brought him home we realized that he was completely house trained and listens well, gets along well with our other dog and loves to be brushed and get belly rubs. The only this his he will only let you touch one side of him and will show his teeth towards you when you try to pet his other side and only happens while he lays down. He also wont let us brush his one side. It's a bit odd and he is also underweight currently but is eating pretty well right now. Could there be a reason he wont let us touch his one side?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Congratulations on the adoption of Cooper and I am happy to hear that all is going well. I suggest that you book Cooper's first vet appointment right away. There could be a medical reason for the reluctance to let you touch or brush that side. The vet will know best and can rule out an injury, etc. You want to be sure that he is okay. And that way, you can continue to make progress with him. Other than the medical reason, I cannot say why he hesitates to let you touch him on the one side. The most I can suggest is to give him a treat as you slowly pat him there occasionally, trying to get him used to it. All the best!

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Lucy
Dachshund
3 Years
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Lucy
Dachshund
3 Years

She was abused by the people who had her before me,she cries entire time I'm gone if I leave and has torn off the strips the bottom of the f door and went from window to wind tearing up shades.when I'm home sshes site behind me at all times,and if anyone comes up to me to fast she bites them.what can I do to help her? It breaks my heart that she's afraid of me leaving her.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Very cute! How long have you had Lucy? If she is new to the home, yes it will take time for her to adjust. Some dogs are not comfortable being left alone in the home and will experience anxiety. I have a dog who used to destroy everything and then I began to crate him when I was out. He then felt secure and safe, and gradually grew out of the need for a crate. It will be safer for Lucy. Here is a guide on liking a crate: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate/. If you do not want to crate her, I suggest an exercise pen area to keep her safe: https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/how-to-set-up-puppy-long-term-confinement-area. As for the biting, socialize her well. Warn your friends to not come up on her quickly. Have them help you by practicing getting her used to people. Have them give her treats upon arrival. Have them sit on the ground at her level, so she can get used to people. Good luck!

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June
black mouth cur
5 Months
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June
black mouth cur
5 Months

Our new pup was abused before she was taken to the shelter. We have seen a lot of progress already, she's mostly no longer food aggressive, loves our cat and dog, and has begun bonding with me. I am home during the day currently as I am a teacher. My husband is bit frustrated as she is not forming any bonds with him. Today, we took her to the front yard to get her used to the smells and being in her harness. Even though I took her out and was the one handling her, she sprinted away from my husband when we got back in and wouldn't go near him while I walked the older dog. How do I help her bond with him too?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Taylor, first, have your husband sit down - so that pup is calmer, and have you or your husband toss pup her dinner kibble one piece at a time without making eye contact. Do this as often as you can. Keep enough distance between them for pup to relax enough to eat the food. As she gets more comfortable, decrease the distance by tossing the treats slightly less far, so that pup has to come closer to your husband to eat them. Watch pup's body language to determine when pup is relaxed enough to decrease the distance - don't rush this process but do practice often at the current distance. When pup will come within a foot of your chair to eat the food and is relaxed at that distance, start to practice this in other positions like standing up, sitting on the ground or lying down. When you change positions, you will likely need to go back to tossing the treats further away again because the new position will probably make her nervous. Once pup will go up to your chair when you are sitting or in one of the other positions and is even more comfortable with you both in general, put on a harness or martingale type collar that pup cannot get out of on pup. Spend time slowly introducing the harness using the method from the video linked below once pup is comfortable enough to get closer to you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn5b8u1YS_g&feature=emb_title Choose a secure, front-clip type harness. Ideally, practice this in a fenced in area since pup may be a flight risk. Clip her leash on the harness and go on a walk with pup and your husband. If pup is nervous, have your husband stay several feet away while walking in the same direction at first - with you (or whoever pup is most comfortable with at that point, holding the leash). As pup relaxes during the walk, gradually have your husband get closer until you can hand the leash off to your husband and let her walk pup alone - without you. This might take several sessions before you can do that without pup stopping or tensing up when your husband gets close. Don't rush this - be aware of pup's body language and any tensing up. Definitely practice in a fenced area if available, even though that will mean walking back and forth a lot. Once pup will walk with your husband and get close to your husband and you to eat, practice hand-feeding her the dog food and walk her regularly to develop trust with him. When you get that far, also teach her commands and tricks using positive reinforcement to further build trust. Check out the article linked below as well, and be aware of pup's body language and not putting her into situations that might lead to a fear bite. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ I highly suggest working with a trainer because additional training will be needed, but you need someone who can monitor how pup is doing and tailor the training plan based on that. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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charlie
Yorkshire Terrier
7 Years
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charlie
Yorkshire Terrier
7 Years

have rescued a dog from a family struggling with him after his owner passed away. he growls when i put him off my lap and attacks if my foot touches him. i think he was kicked and abused. how do i gain his trust and get him over the fear of feet? i have 3 other dogs that he keeps humping as he is not neutered.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, very nice of you to take Charlie out of a bad situation. I think he'll adjust eventually but it will take time. I would spend some time one on one if you have help (someone to walk the other dogs while you are working alone with Charlie). I suggest to be alone so the other dogs cannot interfere - food is involved. Have Charlie doing his own thing, sit at his level and toss treats to him, gradually throwing the treats closer to you. This way he is coming to you on "his own terms" and will gain trust from the treats and eventually come to you. Praise him often, pat him gently with a soft voice, and just keep trying. I think as far as the feet go, you'll have to do your best to not let the feet get close to him for quite a while. Also, walk him often - dogs love walks so much that it is a good way to bond. Also, take a look here: https://wagwalking.com/training/not-be-scared All the best!

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Sophie
Chihuahua
4 Years
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Sophie
Chihuahua
4 Years

I've had my dog for a month. I got her from a foster that had her for 5 months. Sophie was TERRIFIED of everything. She wouldn't eat or drink near me, she would cower when I was around, she would also just cower on our walks. Since getting her, I did a lot of training research to gain trust and I am happy to say that it worked for a while! She was able to eat near me, she was more confident on walks, etc. However, for the past week or so, she has been yelping when I make a wrong move on our walks. If I lift my foot the wrong way, she yelps. If I turn to dust a bug off me, she yelps. If we go near a large door, she yelps. It's so strange because she immediately starts wagging her tail, makes eye contact with me, and tries to immediately cuddle with me. I'm very confused! I don't know how to correct the behavior or how to help her with her walks. At this point, I anticipate that she is going to yelp no matter what. Please help!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lara, Great job working with her over the past few months. It sounds like she has become overly sensitive to certain triggers and may be yelping habitually. I would also keep an eye out for anything that could be causing her pain when she moves a certain way - like an ear infection or paw injury that she is aggravating by flinching or shifting weight when you surprise her . Consult your vet if you suspect something medical. I am not a vet. If the issue is being overly sensitive, make a list of certain movements and things that tend to trigger the yelping. Make those actions slowly or with a bit more distance between you and her - slow enough to avoid a yelp most of the time. When she doesn't yelp, reward with a treat. Practice each action over and over again a LOT. One at a time, trying to go slow or add distance enough to avoid yelps as much as you can during training. When you get a yelp, just ignore it. Do NOT pet or reward with comfort in anyway when you get a yelp - you want to give that behavior no attention. Only reward the calm response. Your attitude should be relaxed and calm around her while doing all of this. The idea here is to work up to doing those actions in quicker and more surprising ways very gradually - to teach tolerance and condition a calm response to them, by rewarding calm responses to versions of the movements that are easier for her to tolerate, and progressing to the movements being closer to what she finds worrisome now as she improves through practice. The goal is for the movements to no longer be a big deal or something she feels surprised or nervous about. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Lady
Labrador Retriever
5 Months
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Lady
Labrador Retriever
5 Months

I am unsure of what type of abuse she endured before she was dropped off. Someone just brought her and left. She is terrified, she won't lay down or move from the corner unless any person leaves the room. She is a totally different dog when she is alone with my other Lab. They play and run, but she completly shuts down when a person enters the room. She is scared to go outside and will not let us take her out. I try to let her come to me and I give her treats and plenty of food. She has her own space, but I dont know if that is enough. How can I help her? How can I establish trust and help her feel safe again?

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Barretta
Cane Corso Italiano
1 Year
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Barretta
Cane Corso Italiano
1 Year

I just bought her. She is scared of humans and runs from human interaction. She jumps when people move or if a noise is loud. She gets very nervous and tries to run away from me and she will not take treats from me and won't eat she feels like people are trying to hurt her.

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Finnegan
Miniature Schnauzer
4 Years
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Finnegan
Miniature Schnauzer
4 Years

Finnegan is a rescue dog. She had previously been used as a breeder so I assume she was in a puppy mill before the shelter. She is sweet and gentle. We have had her 3 days and she has yet to make a sound. She enjoys going out and exploring the backyard. I don't think she'd ever been inside a house before. She didn't eat anything the first day we had her. We took her to the vet who said she might have nausea from all the stress she'd been through and the long drive to get her (13 hours). She was slightly anemic and a bit dehydrated. Day 2 she ate a little and she drinks pretty regularly. My question is she seems really sad. All she wants to do is either sit on one of us and have us stroke her or lie in her dog bed and sleep. No energy- very lethargic. She does not mind walking on a leash but seems apprehensive about going through doors and being around other people. Is there something we should do to bring her out of her shell? Oh, and she has only gone potty once and that was just to pee.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hello! One thing to keep in mind is it usually takes dogs (from any background) about 30 days to adjust to a new environment. On top of that, who knows what she has experienced, so not only does she need to adjust to a new environment, she could potentially need time to adjust to being a pet. Food in bowls, furniture, you, other humans, foreign sounds, other animals, etc. The best way to work on socializing her to any item that may be unfamiliar is to teach her to associate that item with a positive. And the best way to do that is with treats. You mentioned that she hasn't been too interested in food. As she gets more comfortable over the next few days, and as she adjusts to a feeding schedule, her appetite should increase. So you can pick a super tasty treat. Those are usually available at any pet store. These treats she gets for doing things like going potty outside, accepting being pet by someone, and doing anything that she seems to have a fear response to. You can also see if she knows any basic commands and if so, you can bond with her by spending a few minutes a day working on training commands. You can make this a really fun experience for her by giving her lots of love and the treats during this time. This is a good starting point. You can expect her behaviors to change over the next week or so as she adjusts. New behaviors might start to appear, and some things may disappear. Be prepared for this, and just be consistent with everything for the time being. Please let me know if you have additional questions. Thank you for writing in!

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Bella
Redbone Coonhound
6 Years
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Bella
Redbone Coonhound
6 Years

I rescued my dog Bella at the age of 4 from people who were using her for breeding. She is very timid and is scared easily. She hates a leash and will not walk on one. The only time she acts like a dog is when she is running in the trees on my acreage. She is super sweet and wouldn't hurt a fly. I just want to see her come out of her shell and be happy. Any advice on how to make this happen would be great.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Shannon, In your case I recommend hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like fear. Look for someone who can utilize a combination of obedience, structure, counter conditioning, and canine sports to help pup get over things like her fear of the leash and basic things that will be needed to improve things. Once pup can tolerate more, adding in more structure and boundaries to her routine and working on confidence building exercises like agility obstacles, that get her into the right mindset while working with you, to help her body relax, is what I recommend. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ras
Golden Retriever
3 Years
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Ras
Golden Retriever
3 Years

I just adopted a Golden retriever from a shelter. I think he was abused before. I want teach he to not to bark to people when I take him for a walk. How should I do that?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Thatiane, First, pay attention to his body language. At what distance does he tense up when a person is getting closer? (Not lunge or bark but get tense or fixate first) Second, is there a pattern to the type of people he is most reactive to - like one gender, a certain age, a certain race, someone who walks a certain way, is wearing or carrying a certain thing, ect...? If so, training needs to be practiced most around those types of people the most to desensitize. Work on pup's structured heel and focus on you at a distance where both you and pup can stay relaxed around other people. Pup shouldn't be scanning the horizon or staring at people. You need to work at that distance from people, interrupting any staring or fixating on people early, and rewarding any focus on you and calmness - until pup's body language stays relaxed and happy while heeling. When pup can stay relaxed - pay attention to body language, you need to change the mental state here, not just stop the lunging, then practice at a closer distance. Very gradually decrease the distance only as pup is actually relaxed around others at the current distance - interrupt pup for focusing on people or tensing up and calmly let him know not to do that with a calm and confident "Ah Ah" or "No", then give alternate instruction like heel or watch me. Reward pup for focusing back on you, relaxing again, and staying focused or relaxed for certain periods of time - reward the most for STAYING calm and focused. Do not reward while he is tense or fixating - only reward the calm mindset. Because this type of training involves a lot of subtleties, confidence, calmness, timing, and reading body language, this is something I suggest working with a private trainer on - a trainer who comes well recommended by previous clients whose dogs struggled with aggression or leash reactivity, and who has a lot of experience with aggression, reactivity and behavior issues. Ask the trainer questions while looking for someone to be sure that the trainer you are hiring has the right experience for your need - not all trainers specialize in behavior issues or aggression. Once pup can calmly pass by people at a close distance, then work with a trainer to have people give pup instructions like sit and reward pup a lot with treats to build trust with people (with safety measures like a leash to prevent a potential fear bite). Do this with several different people, one person at a time - like a training group with multiple trainers who can practice with pup. When pup can handle those people being up close and touching a bit, then they can also do things like take pup on a walk and reward pup with treats for allowing gentle touch. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Jenny
Golden Labrador
4 Years
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Jenny
Golden Labrador
4 Years

Jenny was from the pound, where they named her Hazel. The couple I got her from, changed her name to Jenny, they had her for three months. She seemed quite attached to the lady...they are moving so I said I'd take her, I have about an acre fenced in lot. When we got to my home, I let Jenny out of the car, and she has not let me near her since. She seems to like her surroundings, but runs from me if I come out of the house, and won't eat unless I'm not in sight. It is terribly hot here, and she was an inside/ outside dog, but she won't come near me or the house. I've tried throwing a ball to play, she ignores it. I've sat quietly for hours with treats in hand, she just lays in the grass and ignores me, or she'll walk in a big circle around the house staying a good distance from me. She seems to like the open space, in fact I was out, and they delivered my water and didn't close the gate across the driveway. When I got home I thought for sure she'd be gone, but she was still there in the yard sitting in the kiddie pool I have filled with water for her.
So how can I get her to not run from me? I have no way to "catch" her to take her to the vet or do anything! Right now, its like I'm feeding a stray animal that happens to like my yard! By the way, that photo was as close as I could get to her.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I went through this exact scenario with a dog I was fostering. I had a very large, wrap around yard and made the mistake of letting her into the yard right away, instead of keeping her close to me when I brought her home. I couldn't catch her! Nor did I want to chase this terrified dog around in circles in my yard while I was suppose to look like a "professional." Ideally you want to confine them, so you can have a bit more control over feeding, play, and exercise. I will send you what worked for me as there is no real information out there regarding this exact scenario. Time. It will take time. If you haven't already, start putting EVERYTHING on a schedule. Meal times, your attempts at playing, treat times, and bed time. Do everything with as much confidence as possible on your end. The crazy part about dog behavior is eventhough THEY are behaving in a state of anxiety, when we show empathy, it heightens their anxiety. Complete opposite of how human responses work. So you pretty much have to behave as if you do not care. Eventhough you do! Go about your schedule in this state. If she isn't responding, oh well, you will try again later. She will start to view you as this super stable, reliable human that she can trust. And one day, she will just come to you and you can put on a leash and go for a walk. Walking is the best way to bond with a new dog. I do that with any foster I have, minus the one who got away and stayed away. Dogs typically need a good 30 days to adjust to any sort of transition. So I know a month seems like an eternity right now. But you will need to give her that time. She WILL break out of this. She WILL come to you. Keep trying with the treats. Give her about 5 minutes, and then try again later. Repeat every day until it happens. Then you can start implementing structure, introducing her to your house, vet visits, all of that. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in!

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Sadie
Weenie Dog
11 Months
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Sadie
Weenie Dog
11 Months

I rescued Sadie when she was 6 months old from an abusive home. When I first got her, it was heartbreaking. She wouldn’t eat, she wouldn’t move, I don’t think there is anything she wasn’t actually scared of. Since then she has made exceptional improvement... but lately she has started acting very scared again. Her tail stays tucked in between her legs, she runs when anybody even moves in her direction. She backs away when I try to pick her up or hold her. For a while she was very comfortable with me. She opened up completely when just I was around being I was her main caregiver. But when other family members were involved she would still act shy which I guess you can say is understandable. But lately she has been very timid, even to me which is very unusual. I just don’t know what to do to make her feel safe. It is my biggest concern to make her feel loved. Any tips?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

If your pet is skittish when you move around, classical conditioning and desensitization techniques can help your pet feel more secure about being in your presence. Your objective is just to deliver an amazing, delicious treat. Here’s how to do it: With a chunk of high-value food (chicken, cheese, hot dogs, etc.) or a yummy chew like a pig’s ear or bully stick, walk towards your dog. Drop the object close by, then continue walking away. You can speak to your dog in pleasing, soothing tones, but don’t stop to pet them. Repeat this daily (or multiple times a day) until you see your dog start to perk up a bit when you approach. Next time you drop the food, instead of walking away, hang out nearby. You can talk to your dog in soothing tones but don’t interfere with your dog’s eating. (NEVER take away a food object from a fearful dog.) Repeat until your dog is able to comfortably eat their treat with you nearby. Over time, and with repetition, your dog learns that being near you is a positive experience, and they’ll start to relax. A calm dog is more open to bonding with you.

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Gordy
Corgi/daucshund mix
12 Years
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Gordy
Corgi/daucshund mix
12 Years

Agresive to big dogs and mailman and any aggressive discipline or loving discipline.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, have you recently acquired Gordy? Or have you had Gordy for a long time? If this is a recent and newly seen behavior, I would take Gordy to the vet for a check up. It's always best to rule out a medical problem like a dental issue or arthritis. Once a health problem is ruled out, you can work on the behavior. Many dogs are aggressive toward the mailman because they see this person approaching their territory every day. At 12 years of age, it is not always an easy fix. For that issue, I would restrict contact - it's highly unlikely the mailman wants to work with your dog to be friends. As for the big dog problem, I would try the Passing Approach Method described here: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs. Practice makes perfect, and you'll have to work on this every time you are out for a walk. Another alternative, described in the guide as well, is to take Gordy to join a walking group in your area. Look for an organized group, headed up by an instructor. Dogs are walked at a distance and gradually brought closer together as they get more comfortable and then they meet face to face. You can try this on your own, with a friend who has a big dog - it may help! As for the discipline, please keep it positive (not "aggressive discipline") as Gordy will most likely respond to that. I would brush up on his obedience skills - this goes a long way to having a dog listen bettter and often helps with aggression as they know their place in the family when training is used. Dogs often thrive on training as well becuase they need mental stimulation just as much as physical walks and playtime. Take a look here for excellent basic obedience tips:https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-dog-basic-obedience. Good luck!

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Barkley
Schnauzer miniature
9 Years
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Barkley
Schnauzer miniature
9 Years

My dog is a rescuer and was
abused she has come a
Long way in her recovery
But will bite when I even bring a harness near her. Once it is on she is fine. But getting on her is a challenge. I want to take her on walks but with just a collar she pulls and chocks. What can I do? I try to desensitize her by laying the harness near her but as soon as I pick it up she runs and hides.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hello! If you haven't tried using treats with this process, that is a good place to start. You can use special treats that she only gets when you put the harness on her, and walk her. Using treats while walking will also help keep her focus on you a bit more than on everything else.

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Sadie
miniature poodle
9 Months
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Sadie
miniature poodle
9 Months

My puppy has separation anxiety.
I have been working on leaving her in her crate and going out the door for 2 minutes and then coming back in. Then increasing the time a little. Even if I leave her in the crate and I am still in the room but she can't see me, she will whine and bark. I put treats in the crate with her, but she will not touch them until I let her out. She fights at the crate door and licks her front paws incessantly. What can I do? Is doggie daycare a good way to start?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. Separation anxiety is a multi-fold issue, so the information I am sending you is A LOT! But it's packed with good information to not only give you some insight as to what is going on in her brain, but how to help her also. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Building Independence Independence training can help fight separation anxiety and loneliness. Independence training can help build confidence and instill obedience. “Doggie Daycare” or hiring a pet sitter may be a better alternative for dogs that are initially resistant to treatment. It can be expensive, but prices vary. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. Other Treatment Options Obedience Training Obedience training helps to instill confidence and independence in your dog. You should spend 5 to 10 minutes daily training your dog to obey one-word commands. It may be helpful to have training sessions occur in the room where your dog will be left when you are gone. All positive experiences (food, toys, sleep, training, and attention) should be associated with this area of the home. Exercise Your dog should receive 15 to 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise once, preferably twice, per day. It is often helpful to exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. It is best to allow your dog 15 to 20 minutes to calm down before you depart. Fetching a ball is good exercise, as is going for a brisk walk or run with your dog on a leash. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. This is incredibly helpful in dogs that are working breeds that need a job to expend energy and work their brains. Supplements Recently, supplements have been released to the public that can help dogs with anxiety. Purina created a probiotic that has been shown to reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect on some dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend this product for treating anxiety, or other products that contain L-Theanine or L-tryptophan. And yes! Doggie Daycare is wonderful for separation anxiety.

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Stringbean
Mixed
3 Years
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Stringbean
Mixed
3 Years

Hello,
We brought Stringbean home 3 days ago from shelter. He was rescued from hoarding situation where was 61 dogs. He is very shy and timid. He let us pet him or pick him up. The first 2 days he did great job go potty outside even tho he had couple little accidents inside which we understand it's ok. Yesterday when we took him out he immediately head to the furthest corner of our backyard he has 20ft lightweight leash on him just in case who would run away. I wonder if we did something wrong that he suddenly runs to that corner. Also he was held in a crate his whole life. He has his little bed in our living room where he lays most of the time. when we need to put him in a crate (like nightime) after he goes in, he refused to get out. Is there way to teach him that he doesn't have to stay inside ? I know he will need a lot of time to warm up to us and be comfortable around us but if you have any advice how to make it easier for him, we would appreciate it. Thank you
Pavla

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I hope that Stringbean is settling in even better these past few days. You do have work ahead of you but you are doing a great job and so is Stringbean. Keep up the potty training - he is doing well considering the situation he came from. Give him lots of praise and treats when he has success with the potty training. As for heading to the one corner, I would not worry about it - once he is more comfortable, I am sure he'll explore the entire yard. I would not crate him - try an exercise pen area instead, as described here: https://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/how-to-set-up-puppy-long-term-confinement-area. Of course, do not set up the litter area since he is being trained to potty outside. Stringbean can be put in the pen when you need to go out or at bedtime. I think he has been in a crate enough - I understand that you want to keep him safe and the pen area can do that. He may learn to like it as his own little den, with a comfy bed and toys. Keep giving him lots of treats and love. You are doing a great job. Good luck and all the best to you and Stringbean!

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Buddy
Mini Schnauzer Chin
6 Years
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Question
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Buddy
Mini Schnauzer Chin
6 Years

Shelter rescue, aggressive towards strangers, other dogs. We want to train him to allow friends into our backyard without being aggressive or nipping. What steps do we take to train him

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hello there. It sounds like you have your hands full. It sounds like she is both fearful and somewhat protective. I am going to provide you with information on how to correct this behavior. You won’t be able to solve your dog’s overprotective behavior in one day. In the meantime, you don’t want to put your life on hold. You can still invite guests into your home as long as you prioritize managing your dog’s behavior. You’ll need a short-term strategy to start showing your overprotective dog what behavior is unacceptable while also keeping your guests safe. There are a few ways to do this. Leash: Keeping your dog on a leash while friends are visiting gives you control over your dog’s actions. Leash him up before the doorbell rings and keep him close as you greet your guests. During the visit, you can let the leash drag and only use it if you have to. Muzzle: If you feel his behavior warrants the use of a muzzle for the time being while you work on solving this problem, then it may be a wise choice. Separate Room: Your dog won’t get better without practice, but sometimes you have to weigh the risks versus rewards. If your overprotective dog is in the beginning stages of training, keeping him separated from guests might be best. You don’t want to put a friend’s safety at risk or needlessly stress out your dog. As long as you keep working toward stopping the behavior, separating an overprotective dog from company is a temporary management solution. Start Obedience Training Obedience training is a must for every dog, and it’s especially important for overprotective dogs. Working with your dog on things like “sit-stay,” “down-stay,” and “heel,” will help build his impulse control. He’ll start seeing you as a capable leader and will turn to you for guidance. A mistake many pup parents make is stopping obedience training once their dog masters the basics skills. Being well-trained is about more than knowing how to sit when a person holds a treat in front of their face. It’s a lifetime lesson, and even senior dogs need regular training. Commit to training your dog several times a day for short periods of time. Make Your Dog Work for Affection You can’t help but smother your dog with love every time he’s within petting distance, but that isn’t always what’s best for him. He will start to feel entitled to your attention, and that’s part of the problem. To remedy this, initiate a “work for it” program that allows you to show your dog affection as long as he earns your attention in appropriate ways. Make him sit, stay calm, and do whatever else you ask before doling out whatever it is he wants. If he’s excited for dinner, make him sit and leave it before digging in. If he wants in your lap, ask him to do a trick first. Never give your dog attention if he rudely nudges your hand or barks in your face. He needs to know polite behavior, and polite behavior only, is how he gets what he wants. You ignore everything else. Involve Other People in the Dog’s Life Most overprotective dogs choose to guard only the person they feel closest to. It’s usually the same person who fills their food bowls, takes them on walks, and handles training. They become obsessively attached, and a strong bond gradually mutates into overprotective behavior. Putting some space between you and your dog will help him learn to trust other people. Enlist the entire family’s help and take a step back in your role as primary caregiver. Have someone else feed the dog a few times a week, and encourage other people to engage his in playtime. This will help him be more comfortable with different people. Socialize Socialization is best done during the puppy stages, but even adult and senior dogs benefit from new experiences. Exposing your overprotective dog to new places, experiences, and people, will help him learn that not everyone is out to hurt you. Make sure each new experience is positive, and encourage your dog without forcing him to interact. If your dog is afraid, you don’t want to make things worse. Take socialization at the pace he’s comfortable with. If he seems overwhelmed, back up and try something a little smaller. These are some general ideas and they can be modified to fit your dynamic. These behaviors do take time, I am talking months, to correct. And sometimes the behaviors get worse before they get better. So just push through that time if that starts to happen. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in!

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Tory
Briewer Yorkie
8 Years
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Tory
Briewer Yorkie
8 Years

This little girl was found with her sister when the owner was discovered dead from natural causes. Owner was an elderly lady that I’ve now come to understand beat Tory with a brush and other things.

Part of what I’ve learned I found out after I adopted Tory. I was originally told Tory and her sister were found three days after the owner had passed. I was also told that Tory had been separated from her sister due to the fact that they fought a lot.

The rescue also decided that since these two dogs did fight that separation was key. Additionally the sister was confirmed to have a collapsed trachea from being confirmed with heart worm disease.

Both of those things I’ve now learned are false. That the person who wrote up the papers on Victoria(Tory) had stretched the truth due to the dog being at the rescue for so long. That she was almost un-adoptable when the real story was told.

I learned the real story after Tory bit me when trying to brush her hair. I was not told that this dog had ANY issues with grooming. Just the opposite. I was even told she had been groomed that day before I picked her up. However, she had very short hair (shaved) due to not being cared for correctly and having skin conditions. I don’t know if that was true or not. She was shaved but maybe with the hope that the dog would calm down in the time it took for her hair to grow out. I didn’t see any other explanation of healing sores etc to explain shaving. Just that someone had cut her ear and an ointment needed for healing.

Here is the truth that I was told after having the dog for almost 3 months.

Tory and her sister were found with the owner passed away after 3 WEEKS. These two dogs did what they had to to survive not having food or water. Yep, that!

The sister had nothing wrong with her except she and Tory fought all the time. These two dogs were taken to the OKlahoma animal Welfare area. At this time they were monitored for 3 days, but only because of not knowing if a family member to the owner would claim them. The dogs were also given a round of vaccinations because confirmation on past vaccinations wasn’t possible. The dogs were watched and it was determined that while sharing a cage that they didn’t get along. The dogs were not monitored for any reason regarding eating their owner to survive.

When I spoke to the animal welfare people they were more concerned about next of kin adoption then the eating part. I was more then horrified especially since they were unsure about the dog’s vaccinations. I would think just keeping them longer to make sure about rabbies would be mandatory. Nope!

After three days the dogs were transferred to OKlahoma City’s shelter(Kill shelter). At this point the rescue where I adopted them-they took in the two Briewer Yorkies. I think that because this variety of Yorkie doesn’t come around the rescue felt they would adopt out. Wrong!

I’m not sure about the sister dog. It was this rescue that decided that the two dogs would not be adopted out together. Victoria who seemed to cause the fights didn’t get along with any dog. As a matter of fact she couldn’t even go to a foster family. She had to stay at the kennel this rescue used. She was there more than a year when I found her.

Originally she was to be co-adopted with myself and my 81 year old mother. My mom had really wanted to have a dog. Because of my moms age I was the co-adopter Incase something happened to my Mom. The rescue organization felt that Victoria would be a great fit with my mom since she had come from an elderly owner and she needed to be an only dog.

My mom lives in Iowa. So I picked up Victoria in Oklahoma and was then going to transport her up to my mom in a few days. The only problem was this was the last day of Feb. 2020. Covid-19 rules and restrictions went into effect within days and I couldn’t take her north for fear of not being able to get back home.

For the record, the rescue was aware this was the plan. But no one knew that Covid-19 would turn the world upside down. Also, I have three dogs of my own. So keeping Tory more than a few days wasn’t the plan. Two of my dogs are elderly. 10 and 14. Two of my dogs were adopted and had been abused so I was familiar with working with rescues.

But no one could be familiar with all the issues this little dog has. Even when I told the Vet after Tory bit me the story I should have been advised before adopting her. The vet didn’t handle it well. She no longer wants to treat Tory and she felt she should have been put down and never adopted out. This regardless to the fact that Tory hadn’t shown any issues when being examined. The vet just couldn’t handle the story.

I try every day to show Tory she can trust me. And she has shown true growth towards people and other dogs. She actually gets along with two of the dogs. But really wants to control my 14 year old female Westie. Some fighting, but no blood. I do isolate when it happens.

But Tory will try and climb on Acorn. She also will bark at her. She mainly does things when she is excited about going outside or food. She barks in Acorns ear and sometime climbs on her. Acorn is very calm and doesn’t react much. But it’s taking its toll. She is now having accidents in the house.

Tory does let me bath her and even trim the hair near her eyes. But if I show her a comb or brush she freaks out. I had tied a comb and was in the process of my third stroke when she bit me. No warnings either. The dog doesn’t growl. She just goes from tense to bite. I had 6 stitches in my thumb.

After learning the truth from the rescue I tried communicating with them for help. It was a few days after the Vet refused to put Tory in any type of calming medication. That was the rescues recommendation when I contacted them about the bite.

The Vet felt that any calming medication could make the dog more unstable. That the dog had it out for me-these are pretty much her words. She felt I wasn’t safe etc.

I’m only not safe if I try to brush her. I had worked on making sure she knew I was alpha. I can tell you that if you are too strict it does the wrong way in helping. She gets worse.

I also went and got her over the counter calming products. They helped with being afraid of the ice dropping into the bucket, or many of the noises associated to a quiet house. Those three weeks of not knowing if anyone would ever find her did a real number to her safety.

It’s now been 5 months and Tory is doing better. The reason I jumped between calling her Victoria and Tory had to do with trying to see if altering her name could take away some of the bad memories from her old owner. I’ve done this with other rescues with a huge success.

It helped Tory too.

I just can’t seem to get her to feel that she will be ok if I brish her. I also don’t feel comfortable taking her to my groomer if I know how she will react. She will bite.

I’m sure part of this is my fear of her. It was a bad bite for me. I can’t tell you how upset I’ve been about the rescue, who I’ve adopted two other dogs from. They won’t return my calls or emails. Even though if I want to relinquish Tory-it has to be back to them. I guess until I send them the actual paperwork they don’t want to be involved. I won’t adopt from them again.

They ALWAYS groom their dogs before turning over to new owners. They have a connection with a grooming business and school. So they groom the dogs for free for the new owners as part of a nice thing for the new family, and learning for the school.

There is no way at all they wouldn’t have known about Tory’s reaction. They knew she had major issues with other dogs. Not small ones like they said. They totally lied originally about Tory’s back story.

The part that upsets me the most is by not letting me know about her fears it put me and possibly my mother at risk. I do feel I got bit because of not being advised about the brush fear. I know they can’t tell me about every fear, but not telling me that she could be very mean is wrong.

I say very mean because she got very mean after she bit me. I didn’t hurt her. I isolated her in my walk in shower. It was bigger and better then a cage. Besides she wouldn’t allow without fighting me getting her into the cage. With the shower she could see us and that she was still safe. No one was hurting her.

I think that the fact that no one was hurting her after she had taken a chunk out of me was something she didn’t know how to handle. She was now so afraid of the unknown that she was mean.

She is much better. I’ve gotten a new vet. Still using over the counter hemp calming meds and they help her a great deal. I also think the hemp helps with undiagnosed pain. That’s a longer story.

Any suggestions to help me get her past the brush issues. I don’t brush her at all and it shows. I will put the brush down for her to sniff that’s it. And the brush gloves have the same effect on her.

It’s also obvious that she was hit a great deal over her sister. I think she thinks my Westie is her sister and resents her. Because the male dog she is learning to play with. I don’t think she knows how to really play. I don’t have a clue what the original owner did to this dog to not let her know his to play with other dogs and also toys.

Age is very very good motivated. You can’t go within 3 feet of her when she is eating or you will get bit. But that makes sense due to the limited food for three weeks.

I don’t feel putting her down is the right call. I’m really disgusted in the vet that wanted her put down without trying first.

She gave a foster dog I had a strong sedative due to his fears of the vet. But wouldn’t do anything but make me more afraid of this dog. Telling me the dog had it out for me. Instead of I’m the main care giver around the dog almost 24/7.

Any suggestions to my super long situation?

Thank you and please stay safe and healthy during these unusual times with Covid-19.

Elizabeth.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hi there! She has had quite the life. You helping her is really wonderful. As far as getting her to not be reactive to things like brushing (or anything else that pops up in the future) is to provide lots of tasty treats in these settings. Not only are you able to use the treats to distract her, but this also shows her that with brushing comes lots of tasty treats so it becomes a positive experience. You can have anyone who interacts with her give her treats as well. For her overall behavior and stability, it is good to stick to a structured schedule that involves exercise and training time, and some fun play time as well. These blocks of time don't have to be any longer than about 20 minutes at a time. This helps keep dogs brains a bit more structured and balanced.

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Buddy
Miniature Pinscher
2 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Buddy
Miniature Pinscher
2 Years

Hello. I rescued Buddy almost 2 months ago. He came from a not so nice situation. He was abused by a male. So now I have a poor dog with so much fear and probably resentment towards Men. He doesnt like my father. He will bark and scream and go after him nip him on his pant leg. He is alright if my dad is sitting down but if he gets up and walk around or even moves its all over. Buddy starts barking his head off. He was practically starving when i brought him home the picture on the left is the day I brought him home. The one on the right is him now. I had him neutered. He loves me and my mother but its not fair to my dad he lives here too. I just dunno how to break him or if i could. He doesnt like ppl going in and out of the house either. I told dad he has to work with him to gain his trust and not get impatient with him.. I just dunno what to do.. Please Help..

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kimberley, First of all, get Buddy used to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle (he should not mind if you introduce it slowly and correctly with lots of treats, rewarding him whenever he sniffs it, touches it, or lets you hold it against his face - take it slow over a week or two). Either have him wear the muzzle while he is loose in the house or keep him attached to yourself with a six-to-eight-foot leash. Being allowed to nip and rush at your dad needs to stop. There are two parts to dealing with aggression. The first is management - you would not let a German Shepherd bite or rush your dad so don't let a Miniature Pinscher. The second is dealing with the root cause - in this case fear, and treating the root cause - by building trust in this situation. While buddy is attached to you and cannot rush your dad, have your dad sit down - so that buddy is calmer, and have your dad toss Buddy his dinner kibble one piece at a time. Do this as often as your dad is willing. Keep enough distance between your dad and Buddy for Buddy to relax enough to eat the food. As he gets more comfortable, decrease the distance by tossing the treats slightly less far, so that Buddy has to come closer to your dad to eat them. When Buddy will come within a foot of your dad's chair to eat the food (while on leash so that he cannot bite if he gets nervous), have your dad start to practice this in other positions like standing up, sitting on the ground or laying down. When your dad changes positions, you will likely need to go back to tossing the treats further away again because the new position will probably make him nervous. Once Buddy will go up to your dad's chair when he is sitting or in one of the other positions (if he seems to need more time to adjust), put the muzzle and an escape-proof padded harness on Buddy. I suggest a harness that has a strap that goes under hid abdomen, behind his front legs and at his chest, with a chest piece in-between. Look for something like Ruffwear's Webmaster Harness (there are other less expensive harnesses out there that are even smaller - but you want something with three straps like that one, to make it secure). Clip his leash on the harness and go on a walk with Buddy and your dad. If Buddy is nervous, have your dad stay several feet away while walking in the same direction at first. As Buddy relaxes during the walk, gradually have your dad get closer until you can hand the leash off to your dad and let him walk Buddy alone - without you. This might take several sessions before you can do that without Buddy stopping when your dad gets close. Once Buddy will walk with your dad and get close to your dad to eat, have your dad hand-feed him the dog food and walk him regularly to develop trust. When you get that far, your dad can also teach him commands and tricks using positive reinforcement to further build trust. For the other people coming in your home, I suggest hiring a trainer to help you. Use a trainer who works with several other trainers also, so that they can all practice working with Buddy to help him get used to strangers. Make sure that they are experienced with fear aggression and have good recommendations in that area. You can also have friends and other family members practice the same type of training that your dad is going to practice - one person at a time, if you can find enough volunteers to stick with it long enough with you. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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lily
a cattle
5 Years
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Question
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lily
a cattle
5 Years

Lily came to live with us yesterday but we have known her for years... her family had to let her go because she is nipping at the baby and she growls at people all the time.. she was abused when she was younger. when you are walking at times she will bite your butt and she is very aggressive when she plays she loves to clamp down on things when she is playing even your arms, I don't know how long I can keep her but I am willing to try and help her be a better dog that can go out in public. thanks...

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello, For this case, I suggest hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression, comes well recommended by previous clients, and works with a staff of other trainers who can practice being "strangers" around her while working with you and her. She will need structured obedience to build respect and trust for you, like having her work for what she gets in life by performing a command first - sit before meals, down before tossing a toy, watch me before opening the door for a walk, ect...Practicing commands that build impulse control like a structured heel, down stay, and Place command even during distractions. She will need to be counter conditioned around strangers - like heeling past strangers over and over again while practicing obedience while wearing a basket muzzle for your safety, interrupting appropriately unwanted responses like staring and tensing to lunge - not just waiting until an outburst or its harder for a dog to learn at that point, and rewarding her calmly when she gets to the point where she can keep her body language completely calm (not just not lunging but calm) while passing the person, then finally working on the strangers being able to get gradually close, toss her rewards for good responses, and train and walk with her to build her trust for them ultimately. This is part of why I suggest working with a training group with lots of experience in this area. Because of the liability of the bites and the level of structure and interaction with strangers she needs done carefully, a group of trainers can help facilitate that. Look for someone who involves you in much of the training as well. Check out Thomas from the canine educator on youtube to learn more about this type of aggression. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Oliver
Miniature Pinscher
2 Years
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Question
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Oliver
Miniature Pinscher
2 Years

Rescued my dog from an animal shelter over a year ago. He has been trouble since the beginning as far as putting a collar or harness on him. Especially a leash. We assumed he was probably abused. He has bit my partner a few times over this. I have managed a few times to put a collar/harness on him as well as a leash. However, he finds his way out of the harness in middle of night. The problem is we live in an apt complex so he cannot not not have a collar/leash. He will get hit by a car or we will receive a fine etc. He's so little, he's able to slip through the gate at dog park. He's now done twice in a row where he slips through & takes off through traffic. He's deathly afraid of collars& leashes. He even bit the vet assistants. He expressed his own glands at Petco cuz he was so fearful. the vet couldn't even clip his toenails. He is so sweet & cuddly normally but stubborn as heck. I am lost. Tried everything. Please help. I feed him the best food, gets the best treats, never hurt him or abused him. Got another dog to play with him so he had someone while we are at work. Still he is doing this crap. Running off. Help please

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kara, It sounds like it's time to hire a professional trainer to help in person with this issue. Look for someone who specializes in behavior issues like fear and comes highly recommended by their previous clients who dealt with high level fear issues. Also, look into a padded harness like Ruffwear websmaster harness - you will likely need a different brand if they don't make a small enough size. That harness is padded so more comfortable but mostly, I recommend something like that because it has a third strap that goes around the dog's waist/abdominal area, making it almost impossible to get off, unlike harness that just go around the chest. Additionally, once you do get it on, it's padded so more comfortable and less likely to chafe. I do highly suggest working with a trainer who is very experienced with behavior issues for this because they can adjust training based on how pup is responding and try different things in the moment - getting creative, something I can't do giving you advice here, but one approach is the following: I would break the training down into smaller steps and go slower - especially now that pup is so suspicious of the collar/harness. It sounds like you are trying to go from no collar/harness to collar on and buckled in one night, and just repeating that process often - which is moving too quickly for pup. Instead of trying to get pup's head in the collar/harness all at once, spend one day simply laying the collar on the ground and sprinkling treats around it several times a day. Do this until pup is comfortable touching it without you holding the collar - go at pup's pace. Watch their body language and stay at this step until pup is relaxed again around the collar. That may take one training session or a week - depending on how suspicious pup is of the collar at this point. Practicing for short periods multiple times a day can help things go more quickly. Once pup is comfortable just touching the collar, hold it in your hand and have pup eat treats out of the hand that is holding the collar. Do this until pup isn't worried about you holding the collar up anymore - don't try to suddenly put it on pup yet or that will set you back. Practice at this step until pup looks happy and confident again with the collar just being held up. End the training session while pup is doing well still. Next, loosen the collar as much as you can so that it makes a large loop, hold the collar up with one hand and hold the treats through the collar's hole with your other hand, so that pup has to move their head toward the collar hole to eat the treats - don't require pup to put their head through the hole yet, just in front of the hole. Do this step until pup is happy and confident about the collar being held up and approaching it - do NOT suddenly try to throw the collar over pup's head or move it toward them - pup is the one moving, you are keeping the collar still at this point. Practice that step until pup is relaxed - even if that takes several sessions. Next, hold the collar the same way, but offer the treats a bit closer to the collar, so that pup has to poke the end of their muzzle through the collar loop to take them. Practice this until pup is comfortable doing that. As pup relaxes, move your treat hand a bit further back so that pup is poking their head through the collar more and more as they improve - again, don't move the collar toward pup at this point. Let pup move their head in and out of the loose collar freely to get treats. Practice until pup has no issues with placing their head through the collar. Go back a step and practice at that step for longer before continuing if pup becomes nervous again. Next, once pup is comfortable poking their entire head through the collar, move the collar very slightly back and forth while holding it up, and holding treats in the collar for pup to move their head through it - you are just getting pup used to the collar moving, not putting it on yet. The collar should still be a large loop at this point - not fitted. Practice until pup can handle the collar moving. As pup improves, gradually increase how much the collar is moving back and forth while pup reaches their head through it. Next, have pup poke their head through the collar, and reward pup with several treats at a time for keeping their head in the hole for longer. Gradually increase how long pup holds their head in the collar for by spacing out rewards as they keep their head in the hole. Next, when pup can hold their head in the collar for longer, have pup poke their head through the collar, sprinkle several treats on something that's at pup's chin height so that your hands are free, and slide the buckle that adjusts the collar size back and forth while pup eats the treats. Start with small movements then stop touching the collar - you are just getting pup used to you messing with the collar a bit. Practice this until you can gradually work up to being able to adjust the size of the collar completely without pup feeling worried, while they eat the treats off the object at chin height. Once pup is can hold their head in the collar for several minutes while you adjust it, without being worried, adjust it to the proper size and leave it on pup for at least two weeks, to help pup get used to the feeling of wearing it around. Most dogs will scratch at it and feel like it's itchy for at least a week when you first have them wear a collar. Choose a collar or harness that's safe for pup to keep on - like the ruffwear webmaster type harness mentioned above or a buckle collar, but pup will likely get out of the buckle collar it sounds like. When you catch pup itching at the collar/harness, distract pup with a fun toy. Check out the video linked below for an example of getting pup to poke their head through an opening. The dog in that video wasn't afraid of the harness during training - so the training was done in one sitting for the sake of showing the steps, but expect your pup to need several sessions between each training step - moving too quickly will likely set pup back. Pup needs to get to the point where they are completely relaxed at the current step before you proceed to the next step - how long that takes will simply depend on pup's specific temperament. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn5b8u1YS_g&feature=emb_title While working on that, depending on your setup, I suggest either setting up an exercise pen in your grass in your yard and carrying pup potty there, then setting pup down in the exercise pen and watching them until they go potty, rewarding with a treat once they go, so they will go faster next time. OR if pup is too wiggly to make carrying them to the pen outside safe or you don't have a yard you could use the exercise pen, set up an exercise pen in a room in your home without carpet that can be closed off to pup later on, once you are no longer needing it. Place a disposable grass pad in the exercise pen and take pup potty there until you can take them outside again once the collar or harness is introduced. If you have an extra bathroom, you can also purchase disposable real grass pads and line the bathroom tub with them and take pup potty there temporarily. Disposable real grass pads -also on amazon: www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com www.porchpotty.com Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Diesel
American Pitbull terrier and mastiff mix
2 Years
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Diesel
American Pitbull terrier and mastiff mix
2 Years

He loves all men but if a woman is petting him he growls but does not show teeth. He is very sweet men but wants nothing to do with women. What can i do to gain his trust. He was abandoned and abused by a previous woman owner

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Brianna, Because of the safety concerns with the risk of being bitten, I do suggest hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression and fear to help in person. Look for someone who comes well recommended by their previous clients who struggled in similar areas with their dogs. To gain pup's trust and respect you will want to reward pup for being calm when you are in the same room with them, without giving direct contact. Don't reward pup acting tense, afraid, or aggressive though. You can use pup's daily meal kibble to do this, having pup work for their food by simply being in the same room as you and you tossing a piece at a time when tolerant. When pup is comfortable being close to you, you can desensitize them to being touched by gently touching pup in an area and giving a treat with each touch. Such as touch the shoulder with one hand and give a treat with your other hand. Touch the chest and treat, the ear, back, collar area, ect...Giving a treat each time. I only suggest doing this is pup is no longer displaying any aggression and a trainer is supervising, or pup has been desensitized to wearing a basket muzzle, is on a back tie leash, and the treats are passed through the muzzle's holes. This can still be low stress to pup if a man he is comfortable with gets him used to wearing a muzzle using his meal kibble and a gradual process of slowly warming him up to it, and pup is taught to stay on a Place bed and is completely comfortable being on there because he is used to being rewarded for staying on it. At that point pup could be back tied with a leash with enough slack in it he wouldn't feel it unless he tried to get off Place, and wear a muzzle he is comfortable, and associate the touches with treats to make this fun - while also making it safe for you. When pup is used to being near you and touching you, then I would start to train pup using mostly lure-reward training, practicing things that help with bonding and trust like Heel. Training a dog in a way that builds trust and respect tends to be one of the best final ways to bond with a dog. Due to the delicate nature of the issue I do still recommend doing these things under the supervision and guidance of a qualified trainer who specializes in behavior issues and comes well recommended. Safety and going at a pace pup can handle should be kept in mind - calmness and confidence is the best attitude for you to have to help pup bond also. Some of the following may help also - but again safety needs to be kept in mind, since your dog isn't just shy, but fearful and potentially aggressive if pushed too far. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Romeo
Rottweiler
4 Months
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Romeo
Rottweiler
4 Months

I am just a kid and my mom wants to give him away and I am really sad and cry all day. So I want to know if he is to old to be trained because he was abused when he was younger by my moms friend friends friend.. lol I know it’s complicated but yeah so please I really want to keep him.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hi! Now is the perfect time to start training. Any time before 6 months is a good window before their behaviors become habits. The best place to start is teaching him basic commands. I would start with sit, lay down, stay, and leave it. You can find step by step instructions on how to teach each command on google. This will improve his overall behavior, as well as give him some of his confidence back after being abused. It will also help the two of you bond.

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Annie
Red heeler
3 Years
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Annie
Red heeler
3 Years

My husband and I brought home a foster-to-adopt dog yesterday and could use some advice. Apparently her background involves being kept in a very small kennel by herself at a shelter that has been shut down for hoarding animals. She is underweight, stress shedding, and has worms. Physical abuse is suspected as well based on her behavior and reaction to unexpected movements. We are trying our best to make her feel comfortable and loved. She stays in one corner and does not move when in the house. She will not eat unless food is put on her bed. She rarely makes eye contact and her tail is firmly between her legs. Do you have any recommendations for things we can try to get her to relax and come out of her shell?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kateri, First, I would simply give pup time. Don't force interactions yet, speak calmly and happily to pup, allow pup to explore and come up to you as she slowly gets used to her new environment. Once pup is a bit more comfortable, try tossing pup treats and kibble while sitting or standing and otherwise ignoring her - when she is acting calm or curious, just to help her associate that with your presence. If you can safely do so, take pup on walks and practice some gentle obedience like heel. Once pup is comfortable enough to allow you to get close or take food from you, you can practicing gently touching pup and giving a treat with each touch, teaching lure reward obedience commands like sit and down and come, creating agility obstacles and teaching pup to maneuver them, and doing more formal obedience training to further build more trust. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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BUDDY
BULL TERRIER STAFFY
5 Years
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BUDDY
BULL TERRIER STAFFY
5 Years

GOOD DAY. BUDDY WAS SAVED ABOUT ONE MONTH AGO FROM SOUTH AFRICAN BLACK PEOPLE, WHO USED TO BE HIS OWNERS. HE LOOKS OLD BECAUSE HE IS STARTING TO SHOW GREY HAIRS IN HIS FACE. HE WAS CONSTANTLY KICKED AND HIT WITH OBJECTS. HE IS VERY AFRAID OF ANYONE, EVEN MY CHILDREN, MAKES ANY LOUD MOVEMENTS OR HITTING NOISES. I NOTICED THAT HE STRUGLES TO GET UP IN THE MORNINGS, IT SEEMS AS THOUGH HIS LOWER BACK HAS BEEN HURT AND IT SEEMED NUMB FOR ALMOST HALF DAY. I DONT KNOW HOW TO MAKE HIM KNOW THAT HE DOESNT HAVE TO BE AFRAID OF ANYTHING, I WANT HIM TO BE PROTECTIVE TOWARDS OUR HOME BUT HE IS SO SCARED. I WOULD NEVER LET HIM GO.

PLEASE ASSIST
YOU WOULD BE ABLE TO GET A HOLD OF ME AT THE FOLLOWING EMAIL ADDRESS: tanjakr@twkagri.com

kind regards

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hello! He is beautiful. Behaviorally I would work on creating as many positive associations as possible right now. Lots of extra love, treats, and praise. Teaching or refreshing basic training commands will also help with his overall confidence and sense of wellbeing. It takes dogs about a month to adjust to a new environment, so with all of the positive attention coming from you, it should help him transition into a happy life! Medically, I can not give too many suggestions because I am not a medical professional. I would have the issues with his legs evaluated by a veterinarian.

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Pig
English Bulldog
3 Years
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Pig
English Bulldog
3 Years

When trying to get Pig off the couch and outside for a toilet break she becomes aggressive and tries to bite quite aggressively

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. It sounds like she is a bit territorial over the couch. This is super common for English Bulldogs. They often become territorial over objects. The information I need to send you on how to solve this issue is way too long for this box! So I am going to send you a great link. If you have any additional questions after reading the article, please let me know. https://wagwalking.com/condition/possessive-and-territorial-aggression

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Tilly
terrier
2 Years
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Tilly
terrier
2 Years

Tilly was in a hoarding situation in north Florida. 118 dogs in a small pen and food/water maybe every 3/5 days. Finally rescued this past March.
I have only had her for 7 days and basically, I can tell she is a sweet girl. She lets me touch her and look in her mouth - no aggression there. Also, it looks like she has had MANY litters. Her poor chest is pitiful.
Problems are: she will not walk. I have to pick her up to take her outside and she hates it. Once we actually get outside, she will do her business but then shakes until she gets back inside. She will not even walk down the street.
Next, she will not eat with me in the same room nor will she eat if her bowl is too far away. I began by putting her food and water bowls close to her bed and that seems to be fine. I have tried moving them away from the bed little by little, but she absolutely will not eat if she has to move too far away from her bed (in the kitchen.)
She will not walk around the house and shakes whenever I come near her - even if I have a treat in my hand. I tried putting a trail of treats from her bed in the kitchen to the doorway into the hall and she ate the one closest to the bed, but left the rest behind. Someone mentioned "high quality" treats so I got turkey hot dogs and I know she likes them but will not go further than her bed to get them.
Tail is always tucked under and it breaks my heart because there is no joy there.
Can she be helped?????

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hello! How wonderful of you to take her in. It sounds like she really needs someone like you. There is no immediate fix to this scenario. She will have to learn to trust you over time. I tell people it usually takes about 30 days for a dog to adjust to a change, but she may need more than that given her circumstances. You are doing everything right with her though. So keep doing what you are doing. Making every interaction as positive as possible. Keep up with the treats even if she doesn't take them. And try to keep on a routine and schedule with her until she gets a little more comfortable. Routine is so important to dogs. It keeps them grounded.

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Scooby
Pit bull
3 Months
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Scooby
Pit bull
3 Months

I just got my 2 month old and I believe he’s been beaten and treated really bad bc once I took him from the owners he took off running so I went after him I found him scared I tried to get him and he bit me on both of my hands to the point I was bleeding the owner said he’s good with kids and never done this before so I was so scared that I had them take him inside my house right when I walk in my house he took off running to the bathroom and didn’t want me to pick him up he hold his pee and poop and didn’t eat for one day the next morning he peed for 3 minutes straight and poop it’s been 3 days now and he still won’t let me play with him like I can hold him love him and all that but he gets scared when I come near then he won’t run or play just a dog with no excitement

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Marissa, Check out the article linked below and the section on shy dogs and humans for ways to gradually build pup's trust. Also check out the PDF e-book linked below. Once pup trust you alright, begin the socialization suggestions in that book to help make up for lost time, due to a possibly bad history or a naturally timid personality. Shy dogs: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ Free PDF e-book "AFTER You Get Your Puppy" that can be downloaded at the link below. www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bear
Border collie mix
10 Years
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Bear
Border collie mix
10 Years

Bear has possesion aggression from living in shelters his whole life. He also has a bit of pain and fear aggession from weak joints and mistrust. I was shocked by this when petting him accidentally on a painful space on his arm, he snapped and barked. He then snapped and barked from regular petting on his face. We had an incident last night from me moving his crate so i think we have some mistrust now. Hes only 3 days in my care. He loves people and other dogs. Will we ever get to a place of trust again where he can be comfortable with not only me, but other humans and dogs. I will always warn them now about his legs and just petting the top of his head and back

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kerry, If the pain can be better managed, pup can likely recover with some training, but pain management is something I would speak with your vet about because that will largely determine how much progress pup can make behaviorally. With pain better managed, starting with areas that are not sensitive I suggest working on desensitizing pup to touch using daily meal kibble. At first, simply approach pup and toss a treat when they stay calm. Practice until pup enjoys you approaching. Next, reach your hand toward pup's direction like you are going to touch but don't touch and toss a treat. Practice until pup is happy with that over the course of several sessions. Next, gently touch an area of pup's body they enjoy while feeding a piece of food at the same time with your other hand. As soon as the treat is gone, the touches stop. Continue with various area of pup's body, starting with areas they enjoy and progressing slowly. For example, touch a shoulder and give a treat. Touch their chest and give a treat. Touch an ear and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Hold their collar and give a treat, muzzle and every other area that isn't sore very gently and give a treat each time. Keep these times calm and fun for pup. Avoid anything that would cause pup pain. Go slow enough pup can relax during these exercises, only touching a new area as pup becomes comfortable with the current touches. Have pup wear a basket muzzle you have desensitized them to ahead of time if you feel pup may bite. The basket muzzle should be such that pup can open their mouth while wearing it to be able to receive treats you pass through the holes or lick the end of a straw dipped in peanut butter or liver paste. Avoid Xylitol in Peanut Butter - it's extremely toxic to dogs. The muzzle introduction should also be done slowly with a nervous dog like yours, likely over the course of a couple of weeks, even though this video shows it being done in one session with a less nervous dog. Muzzle introduction video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJTucFnmAbw&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=6&t=0s If you feel overwhelmed, the issue isn't improving, or things are getting worse, I suggest hiring a professional trainer with a lot of experience with fear, trauma, and aggression, who comes well recommended by their clients to help you in person. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Zues
German Shepherd / border collie cross breed
2 Years
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Zues
German Shepherd / border collie cross breed
2 Years

We have had Zeus for a year and he goes readily for walks with me he has to be encouraged and leaded out by my husband. This has gone on for the whole year , despite his walking him daily .

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I actually suggest working with a trainer who specializes in behavior issues for this. This is hopefully a simpler issue, but body language and interactions between them at the beginning of and during the walk needs to be observed to see if it's something he is doing, a need for more respect and trust to be built through other types of training, or something in the environment or about the walk that pup is nervous about that needs to be overcome - perhaps pup feels safer with you if so. This likely has to do with their relationship in some way, so someone needs to be able to observe and do a little detective work. He might try practicing regular obedience training with pup daily for 20-30 minutes, using Lure Reward type training to help build trust or respect between them that could be needed. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Eddy
Bulldog
3 Years
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Eddy
Bulldog
3 Years

After rescuing Eddy 10 months ago not knowing his past, he seems to suffer from bad anxiety when it comes to do with his harness and leaving the house/garden. Once he is out and off the lead he is brilliant but as soon as we go to the cupboard to get out his harness he is a shaking mess. Even we we go away in our caravan he doesn’t settle and hides away under things that resemble his cage or the car. He isnt nasty with it just petrified.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tom, First, take a look at your harness and how it fits him. Many harnesses squeeze uncomfortably, dig into armpits, or chaff. If your harness does any of those things to pup, they may be fearful of it due to that association. A padded harness such as the type made by www.ruffwear.com is what I recommend. Front clip will do the best at preventing pulling, opposed to a back clip on, some padded harnesses have clips in both places. There are cheaper less-well-known brands you can buy but use harnesses like ruffwear's front range or webmaster as a guide for what to look for. Another option is to use a collar that's a bit more secure, like a martingale collar if pup does fine with collars and just not harnesses. Harness introduction how to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn5b8u1YS_g&feature=emb_title I would follow the steps in the video above, but instead of trying to go from no harness to harness in one session, for you this will be broken up into dozens of sessions, working at the current step until pup seems relaxed about that step, before moving on. This will require patience on your part and not trying to rush the process. If pup is okay with a collar, use a collar to take pup outside on right now until they are comfortable with the harness- keeping the harness just for the training sessions until they are okay with it again. If pup seems fearful of simply leaving your property, go places in your neighborhood and locations you would walk to, starting with just past the yard, and simply spend time relaxing and having fun there without the actual walk, with pup on leash. Sit and read a book, hide treats for pup to find (stay away from any pesticide spraying though), play games like tug or short distance fetch on a 10 foot leash, practice tricks and commands with treats, ect...This time should be something that helps pup relax and takes their mind off their anxiety. Reward signs of bravery, relaxation, and healthy curiosity about new things. When pup is good in one location, go to a new one in the area next, and repeat that in various areas until pup begins to get more comfortable being away from your home and exploring. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Daisey
Beagle tri color
5 Years
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Daisey
Beagle tri color
5 Years

Daisey comes from an abusive and neglectful environment.

I rescued adopted her in May 2020. She is afraid of everything but is getting each week.

She is on rx spray for a yeast infection in her paw pads. She licks the front of her arm/leg. What should I do to help her?

She is a great sweet girl. Thank you.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Judith, Right now I suggest working on things that can distract her from the licking. Try feeding her her meal kibble in hollow chew toys, Kong wobble, treat puzzles, or even automatic treat dispensing devices, like AutoTrainer and Pet Tutor. You can keep her busy for longer by stuffing and freezing the Kongs with food. Place pup's food in a bowl with water the night before. Let the food turn to mush, poke a straw through the Kong's holes, loosely stuff the mush around the straw, freeze the entire thing, then remove the straw and give it to her in the early evening. Add a bit of peanut butter or liver paste to the mush if she needs help being interested in it - don't pack it tightly or she won't be able to get it out. You can make several of these ahead of time to have on hand. Just subtract the food in the kong from her dinner kibble amount, to avoid overfeeding. I would also work on teaching a leave it command using food rewards. Follow the first several steps of the Leave It method, the parts that involve teaching it with treats: Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Finally, if she is continuing to make it sore and won't let it heal I would see if there is something that would be safe to ingest and for her skin that you could put on the area, to deter her from licking - it needs to be something they approve that won't irritate the skin either. A final option that may be needed if it's really irritating her and she can't help but bother it, is a cone. Speak with your vet if she seems to need that temporarily. Work on the above suggestions I mentioned after the cone comes off also, to break any licking habits that aren't due to irritation, that she may have developed during the infection. I am not a vet. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Lacy
Husky
9 Weeks
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Lacy
Husky
9 Weeks

We got her a two days ago when we got her she went into small places did'nt even look up to anyone or smelled someone's hand my uncle has a dog and I remember that he was tiny but not scared like Lacy which worried me she smelled really bad so she took a bath the next day I tried to get her trust it worked but she seemed scared of my granpa, dad, and my dad's cousin she won't eat the food they gave us so I gave her a weener she ate that then my dad's cousin said that when he went to get her she kept wimpering so we came to the conclusion that she was abused.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, I recommend a trip to your vet to get her checked out - make sure she is not sick or in pain, as well as do the routine exam. I am not a vet. Check out the article linked below, and start with the section on shy dogs and humans: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ Check out the free PDF e-book AFTER You Get Your Puppy. Don't worry about what he says about picking a certain puppy that has been well socialized. The goal now is to help pup recover, and with general needs, which that book has sections to help with over the next few months. www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bear
Labrador Retriever
6 Years
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Bear
Labrador Retriever
6 Years

This is Claire-Bear and she came from a very abusive house where she was severely malnurished. She was shot with a bb gun and had her puppies taken away. She has problems with trust, noises ofany kind, and foreign objects

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Naomi, First, check out this video channel for examples of desensitizing a dog to things like objects and noises. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?app=desktop&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a If pup will take food from you, work on associating your presence with food - whenever you enter the room, pup comes over, or they stay calm around you, gently toss pup a piece of kibble throughout the day when you are home. Ration pup's kibble into a couple of ziploc bags for each of you and you can feed pup their entire daily food this way. Also give it time. Once pup is completely comfortable with you presence, you can work up to getting pup used to touch using those same bags of pup's kibble - except now, give pup a piece each time you gently touch them somewhere - like a shoulder, ear, collar, ect...Only touch for as long as it takes pup to eat the food, then remove your hand until the next treat is given. When pup can do that, if pup was never introduced to a collar and leash, work on introducing a collar and leash gradually. Simply sprinkling treats around both on the ground for a while, then holding them and letting pup eat food out of the hand holding them, then loosening the collar all the way and holding a treat through it - until pup will willingly put their head all the way through, then feeding pup treats while their head is in the loose collar while you tighten and loosen it to get pup used to that feeling. You may need a second person for the last part of the training - you will gradually introduce it over the course of several days - going at a pace pup can handle. Example of how you will do the collar (but more gradually in your case) with harness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn5b8u1YS_g&feature=emb_title Leash introduction: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-your-puppy-to-accept-leash More trust building once pup is okay being closer to you - the section on shy dogs and humans: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ You may also need to work with a trainer who specializes in behavior issues like fear, for specific issues or if you find pup isn't making progress, to tailor a training program to you that's based on how pup is responding in real time. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Caesar
German Shepherd
1 Year
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Caesar
German Shepherd
1 Year

So we just got this dog from a shelter and we can tell he has been abused before because every time we would try to approach him, he would either get scared and back away, or he would lay down and keep staring at us. What should I do to get rid of this?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Badr, Sit down - so that pup is calmer, and toss pup his dinner kibble one piece at a time without making eye contact. Do this as often as you can. Keep enough distance between you for pup to relax enough to eat the food. As he gets more comfortable, decrease the distance by tossing the treats slightly less far, so that pup has to come closer to eat them. Watch pup's body language to determine when pup is relaxed enough to decrease the distance - don't rush this process but do practice often at the current distance. When pup will come within a foot of your chair to eat the food and is relaxed at that distance, start to practice this in other positions like standing up, sitting on the ground or lying down. When you change positions, you will likely need to go back to tossing the treats further away again because the new position will probably make him nervous. Once pup will go up to your chair when you are sitting or in one of the other positions and is even more comfortable with you in general, put on a harness or martingale type collar that pup cannot get out of on pup. Spend time slowly introducing the harness using the method from the video linked below once pup is comfortable enough to get closer to you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn5b8u1YS_g&feature=emb_title Choose a secure, front-clip type harness. Ideally, practice this in a fenced in area since pup may be a flight risk. Clip his leash on the harness and go on a walk with pup in the fence. As pup relaxes during the walk, reward pup with treats. Don't rush this - be aware of pup's body language and any tensing up. Definitely practice in a fenced area if available, even though that will mean walking back and forth a lot. Once pup will walk and get close inside, practice hand-feeding him the dog food and walk him regularly to develop trust - again, don't lure pup too close before they are relaxed - you don't want a fear bite from a dog who is darting closer then flinching and running away after eating the treat - that means you decreased distance too quickly, before pup was feeling safe. When you get that far, also teach him commands and tricks using positive reinforcement to further build trust. Check out the article linked below as well, and be aware of pup's body language and not putting him into situations that might lead to a fear bite. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ I highly suggest working with a trainer because additional training will be needed, but you need someone who can monitor how pup is doing and tailor the training plan based on that. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Luna Belle
Yorkshire Terrier
5 Years
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Luna Belle
Yorkshire Terrier
5 Years

Me and my boyfriend recently adopted a shelter dog, so they had no information regarding her age, health, shots, anything. She doesn’t come when she’s called, she’s very skittish, but she’ll come to you if she wants on the couch or on the bed, in which we put her there because we don’t mind. She sleeps more than anything, but we’re fairly certain she’s old and was used in a puppy mill from her behavior. She doesn’t like to play, and she refuses to go outside even with one of us holding her and then sitting her on the ground for her to run around. She just goes back inside. She does prefer to sleep by me every night, but is there any way we can get her to trust us more, so she’s not so afraid of us?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alexa, If pup will take food from you, work on associating your presence with food - whenever you enter the room, pup comes over, or they stay calm around you, gently toss pup a piece of kibble throughout the day when you are home. Ration pup's kibble into a couple of ziploc bags for each of you and you can feed pup their entire daily food this way. Also give it time. Once pup is completely comfortable with you presence, you can work up to getting pup used to touch using those same bags of pup's kibble - except now, give pup a piece each time you gently touch them somewhere - like a shoulder, ear, collar, ect...Only touch for as long as it takes pup to eat the food, then remove your hand until the next treat is given. When pup can do that, work on introducing a collar and leash gradually. Simply sprinkling treats around both on the ground for a while, then holding them and letting pup eat food out of the hand holding them, then loosening the collar all the way and holding a treat through it - until pup will willingly put their head all the way through, then feeding pup treats while their head is in the loose collar while you tighten and loosen it to get pup used to that feeling. You may need a second person for the last part of the training - you will gradually introduce it over the course of several days - going at a pace pup can handle. Example of how you will do the collar (but more gradually in your case) with harness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn5b8u1YS_g&feature=emb_title Leash introduction: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-your-puppy-to-accept-leash More trust building once pup is okay being closer to you - the section on shy dogs and humans: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ You may also need to work with a trainer who specializes in behavior issues like fear, for specific issues or if you find pup isn't making progress, to tailor a training program to you that's based on how pup is responding in real time. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Iris
Husky
1 Month
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Iris
Husky
1 Month

Iris is scared of people and vehicles and has separation anxiety.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hi there. It sounds like she may have some separation anxiety going on. Because this behavior issue is complex, I have a lot of information to send you. With some time and practice, this is something that can be turned around over the next month or so. The first step in treating separation anxiety is to break the cycle of anxiety. Every time a dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious when their owner leaves, the distress they feel is reinforced until they become absolutely frantic any time they are left alone. Owners should give the dog an acceptable item to chew, such as a long lasting food treat when they go out. The goal is to have the dog associate this special treat with the owner’s departure. Treats might include hollow bones stuffed with peanut butter or soft cheese, drilled out nylon bones, or hollow rubber chew toys such as Kong toys with similar enhancements (place these in the freezer before giving them to your dog to make them last longer). Give the bone to your dog about 15 minutes before preparing to depart. The chew toy should be used only as a reward to offset the anxiety triggered by your departure. Hiding a variety of these delectable food treats throughout the house may occupy the dog so that the owner’s departure is less stressful. In an effort to prevent destructive behavior, many owners confine their dog in a crate or behind a gate. For dogs that display “barrier frustration,” the use of a crate in this way is counterproductive. Many dogs will physically injure themselves while attempting to escape such confinement. Careful efforts to desensitize and counter condition the dog to crate confinement before leaving them alone may be helpful in some cases. However, some dogs rebel against any form of restraint, including restricting barriers and, for them, crate training may never be a positive experience. Crate training and utilizing the crate while people are home can be a positive way to make the crate a safe place. If you utilize it when people are around, your dog won’t necessarily associate the crate with departure and being left alone. Creating nap time in the crate throughout the day can also be helpful. Building Independence Independence training can help fight separation anxiety and loneliness. Independence training can help build confidence and instill obedience. “Doggie Daycare” or hiring a pet sitter may be a better alternative for dogs that are initially resistant to treatment. It can be expensive, but prices vary. Independence training is one of the more important aspects of the program. It involves teaching your dog to “stand on their own four feet” when you are present, with the express intention that their newfound confidence will spill over into times when you are away. You need to make your dog more independent by reducing the bond between both of you to a more healthy level of involvement. Decreasing the bond is the hardest thing for owners to accept. Most people acquire dogs because they want a strong relationship with them. However, you have to accept that the anxiety your dog experiences in your absence is destructive. Essential components of the independence training program are as follows: Your dog can be with you, but the amount of interaction time should be reduced, especially where attention-seeking behaviors are concerned. You should initiate all interactions with your dog, and they shouldn’t be permitted to demand attention. If you give your dog attention every time they whine, it helps to foster the dog’s dependence on you and increases its anxiety in your absence. You should ignore your dog completely when they engage in attention-seeking behavior, and avoid catering to them when they appear to feel anxious. This means no eye contact, no pushing away, and no soothing talk or body language, all of which will reward their attention-seeking mission. Attention is encouraged only when your dog is sitting or lying calmly. The goal is not to ignore your dog, but to stop reinforcing attention-seeking behaviors so that your dog develops a sense of independence. Minimize the extent to which your dog follows you by teaching them to remain relaxed in one spot, such as their bed. To accomplish this, it is helpful if you train them to perform a sit-stay or down-stay while gradually increasing the time that they hold the command and remain at a distance from you. Providing a treat or toy and encouraging individual play time can be helpful. Once your dog has learned basic obedience commands, you can train them to hold long down-stays while you move progressively farther away. First, your dog should be trained to perform a “down-stay” on a mat or dog bed using a specific command, such as “lie down.” Your dog may have to be gently escorted to the designated spot the first few times. Initially, they should be rewarded every 10 seconds for remaining there, then every 20 seconds, 30 seconds, and so on. Once they have figured out what is wanted, you should switch to an intermittent schedule of reinforcement [reward], as this will strengthen the learned response. Each time your dog breaks their “stay,” issue a verbal correction, indicating that there will be no reward, and then escort them back to their bed. First, your dog can be made to “down-stay” while you are in the room. Next, they can be asked to stay when you are outside of the room, but nearby. The distance and time you are away from your dog can be increased progressively until your dog can remain in a down-stay for 20 to 30 minutes in your absence. Your dog should be warmly praised for compliance. Of course, they need to accept the praise without breaking the stay. Your dog should become accustomed to being separated from you when you are home for varying lengths of time and at different times of day. You can set up child gates to deny your dog access into the room you’re occupying (i.e. reading, watching television, or cooking). Instruct your dog to lie down and stay on a dog bed outside the room. As previously mentioned, you can provide an extended-release food treat or toy to keep your dog calm and distracted. Once they are able to tolerate being separated from you by a child gate, you can graduate to shutting the door to the room so your dog cannot see you. Allowing a dog to sleep in bed with the family can increase dependence. If you decide to prevent your dog from sleeping in your bed, there are some steps to take to establish this routine. First, you need to train your dog to sleep in their own bed on the floor in your bedroom. They may have to be taken to their bed several times before they get the message that you really want them to sleep in their own bed. Alternatively, you can train your dog to enjoy sleeping in a crate to prevent unwanted excursions. Do not use a crate if it causes more anxiety and distress for your dog. Once they tolerate sleeping in their own bed in your bedroom, you can move their bed outside of the bedroom and use a child gate or barrier to keep them out. Always remember to reward your dog with praise or a food treat for remaining in their bed. Develop Departure Techniques Many owners erroneously feel that if separation is so stressful, then they should spend more time with their dog before leaving. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the condition. Everyone in the family should ignore your dog for 15 to 20 minutes before leaving the house and for at least 10 to 20 minutes after returning home. Alternatively, your leaving can be made a highlight of your dog’s day by making it a “happy time” and the time at which they are fed. Departures should be quick and quiet. When departures (and returns) generate less anxiety (and excitement), your dog will begin to feel less tension in your absence. Remember to reward calm behavior. Teach your dog that your departure and return are just normal parts of the day and are not times to be stressed. You should attempt to randomize the cues indicating that you are preparing to leave. Changing the cues may take some trial and error. Some cues mean nothing to a dog, while others trigger anxiety. Make a list of the things you normally do before leaving for the day (and anxiety occurs) and the things done before a short time out (and no anxiety occurs).Then mix up the cues. For example, if your dog is fine when you go downstairs to do the laundry, you can try taking the laundry basket with you when you leave for work. If your dog becomes anxious when you pick up your keys or put on a coat, you should practice these things when you are not really leaving. You can, for example, stand up, put on a coat or pick up your car keys during television commercials, and then sit down again. You can also open and shut doors while you are home when you do not intend to leave. Entering and exiting through various doors when leaving and returning can also mix up cues for your dog. When you are actually leaving, you should try not to give any cues to this effect. Leave your coat in the car and put your keys in the ignition well before leaving. It is important to randomize all the cues indicating departure (clothing, physical and vocal signals, interactions with family members, other pets, and so on). The planned departure technique can be very effective for some dogs. This program is recommended only under special circumstances because it requires that you never leave your dog alone during the entire retraining period, which can be weeks or months. Timing is everything when implementing this program. If your dog shows signs of anxiety (pacing, panting, barking excessively) the instant you walk out of the door, you should stand outside the door and wait until your dog is quiet for three seconds. Then go back inside quickly and reward your dog for being calm. If you return WHEN your dog is anxious, this reinforces your dog’s tendency to display the behavior, because it has the desired effect of reuniting the “pack” members. The goal is for your dog to connect being calm and relaxed with your return. Gradually work up to slightly longer departures 5 to 10 minutes as long as your dog remains quiet, and continue in this fashion. Eventually, you should be able to leave for the day without your dog becoming anxious when you depart. When performed correctly, this program can be very helpful in resolving separation anxiety. Other Treatment Options Obedience Training Obedience training helps to instill confidence and independence in your dog. You should spend 5 to 10 minutes daily training your dog to obey one-word commands. It may be helpful to have training sessions occur in the room where your dog will be left when you are gone. All positive experiences (food, toys, sleep, training, and attention) should be associated with this area of the home. Exercise Your dog should receive 15 to 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise once, preferably twice, per day. It is often helpful to exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Exercise helps to dissipate anxiety and provides constructive interaction between you and your dog. It is best to allow your dog 15 to 20 minutes to calm down before you depart. Fetching a ball is good exercise, as is going for a brisk walk or run with your dog on a leash. Even if your dog has a large yard to run in all day, the aerobic exercise will be beneficial since most dogs will not tire themselves if left to their own devices. This is incredibly helpful in dogs that are working breeds that need a job to expend energy and work their brains. Supplements Recently, supplements have been released to the public that can help dogs with anxiety. Purina created a probiotic that has been shown to reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect on some dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend this product for treating anxiety, or other products that contain L-Theanine or L-tryptophan.

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Bella
Chihuahua
3 Years
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Bella
Chihuahua
3 Years

I just adopted her and she was being abused. I am unsure in which way. She is very aggressive and does not like to be touched.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Monica, Since pup is fear aggressive, I do recommend hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues to help you in person. You will need additional safety measures and someone who can evaluate pup's body language in certain situations to choose methods that are tailored to you. Look for someone who will come to your home, has experience with fear and aggression, and comes well recommended by their clients' who also needed help with similar things with their dogs. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Turtle
Mix
2 Years
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Turtle
Mix
2 Years

My dog turtle is a rescue from an abused home. He is so sweet with me and my precious dog, but he’s very protective of us. Anyone else who comes into the home/ comes near us on walks he is very aggressive. He has even bitten two people. Please help with suggestion! I live in kuwait

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Abby, First, pup needs to be kept on a leash at all times when not in your home or fenced yard. I would work on building pup's respect for you gently - so pup feels less possessive, desensitizing pup to other people using food rewards for good behavior toward other people, and building overall confidence. While on walks, whenever pup reacts calmly, reward with a treat. Whenever pup first spots someone before they react poorly, offer a treat. Interrupt pup as soon as they start to fixate or stare someone down - don't wait for a poor reaction, then remind pup to focus back on you with heel work - with lots of turns and pace chanced and obedience practice. Once pup is calmer and refocused on you around the distraction, reward again. Practice far enough from other people that pup can refocus back on you and not be overly aroused. As pup improves you can practice at gradually closer distances. When someone wants to pet, politely, tell them no, that you are in training, right now. A structured heel and a solid - long Place command are probably the two most important commands for you to practice as far as obedience goes right now. Your walk needs to start out super structured. No scanning the horizon for others or checking out from your dog. She needs to be slightly behind you, focused and following you, and working during the walk. Place command is a great impulse control building command, and has the bonus of helping to build respect and calmness, plus helps manage behavior when people come over. Work up to her being able to stay on Place for 1-2 hours. How you teach these commands matters - with reactivity or aggression issues, calmness, business-like attitude, and slightly firm is important - but not anger, yelling, or unnecessarily roughness. Just being consistent about enforcing rules calmly and teaching her mind. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Working and Consistency methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you If she is generally a bit nervous, then some confidence building exercises may also help her overall attitude. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elvtxiDW6g0 The trainer in many of the videos above also has other videos on fear aggression and reactivity. An example of a structured walk with a reactive and aggressive dog: Reactive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY8s_MlqDNE Aggressive dog - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Preciousa
Chiweenie
6 Weeks
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Preciousa
Chiweenie
6 Weeks

She was abused .. but she is still little very little and she wont walk.. wont come to me wont even walk toward me,ha she doesn't respond to anything just sits and stares and then lays down. Very stubborn but i want her learn to come to me and walk around and start training also she wont eat much just turns her head and ignores. HELP MY STUBBORN BABY

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hello! How wonderful of you to take her in. It sounds like she really needs someone like you. There is no immediate fix to this scenario. She will have to learn to trust you over time. I tell people it usually takes about 30 days for a dog to adjust to a change or new home. You are doing everything right with her though. So keep doing what you are doing. Making every interaction as positive as possible. Keep up with the treats even if she doesn't take them. And try to keep on a routine and schedule with her until she gets a little more comfortable. Routine is so important to dogs. It keeps them grounded.

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Honey
Labrador Retriever
2 Years
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Honey
Labrador Retriever
2 Years

We rescued her from the dogs trust, but before that she was rescued from a puppy breeder who bred her before she was 2 years old. She hasn’t been socialised with other dogs and becomes very defensive when dogs come anywhere near her. How can I help with this?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I think based on her prior circumstances that it would be ideal to have a trainer come to the house to work with Honey and give you instructions that you can use when she is around other dogs. It will be worth the expense and time to give her a chance for socialization. In the meantime, when you take Honey on walks, work on the Passing Approach Method as explained here: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs. The Playdate Method described here is an option: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-your-puppy-to-socialize-with-other-dogs. This works if you have a friend with a calm dog willing to give it a try. Often, trainers will have dogs at their facility that are used to train other dogs to be socialized. You could ask your vet about that or try researching online. Good luck!

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Annabel
Greyhound
1 Year
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Annabel
Greyhound
1 Year

Our new rescue is turning one tomorrow, 12/9/20. We just got her this past Saturday. We quickly realized she’s extremely afraid of adults, especially men. She loves my 2 kids, Lucy-5 and Truman-4, and our other dog, Reggie.
She won’t come to me or my husband no matter what we do. We did notice that when my husband lifted up two rolls of wrapping, Annabel coward down and whimpered and whined. The same thing happen with me when I life’s up my kids toy pony on a long stick. She was terrified. We are experienced dog owners and had one other rescue dog in the past, but that dog loved us from day one.
We’ve been giving Annabel her space and rewarding her with lots of treats but she won’t even take the tears from us, only from my kids. Annabel sleeps upstairs with my daughter in her bed. Any advice will help, please.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lacy, Unfortunately, this is probably something that will take time more than anything else. I would use pup's daily kibble to toss her a treat whenever she enters the same room as you, acts calm or unafraid in any way around you, and when you move about or do something that's harder for her to stay calm around - before she reacts badly. Like you stand up and toss a treat before she can get nervous about your movement. When she is comfortable enough to be around you, work on teaching gentle commands through lure reward training- where you use a treat to follow into a position like sit, instead of touching pup while teaching it. Practice regular training and heeling walks with her calmly, to help build your relationship with her and establish respect and trust more, which can help her feel more confident around you. When pup can handle being around you, I would also work on desensitizing her to you touching her. Gentle touch an area she tolerates best and at the same time with a treat. Stop the touch when the treat is gone until the next touch. Practice feeding pup their meals one piece at a time, one piece per touch. Watch pup's overall body language and keep things gentle and calm while doing this. Ending the session if pup starts to seem overwhelmed. Start with areas that are easy for her to tolerate first, like shoulders, and progress to other areas as she relaxes around you more. Know that this will probably take some time. I would just watch to make sure pup doesn't become possessive of the kids around you. If not, take things slow and continue to allow her to adjust to you, then work on proactively building trust once pup can handle being around you more. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Marty
Pit bull/lab mix
2 Years
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Marty
Pit bull/lab mix
2 Years

I have had my dog for almost a year and he has never warmed up to my husband. He loves me and I am very attached to him, but he sometimes growls at my husband. I got him from an animal shelter and I think he may have been used as a bait dog. My husband loves dogs and would never hurt him but I think hurt his feelings that Marty doesn't love him.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I recommend working with a trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression and comes well recommended by their previous clients, to help with this in person to ensure everyone's safety while training. With the proper supervision and safety measures in place, I would recommend having your husband use pup's daily meal kibble as rewards for any good behavior toward him - like when your husband first enter the room and pup stays calm, whenever he is friendly, tolerant or calm around your husband in general. You are rewarding calm body language and non-reactions more than anything, looking for opportunities. You husband can carry a Ziploc baggie with pup's kibble in it, and simply calmly toss a treat at pup's paws, paying little attention to pup when he does. When pup is comfortable enough around him to be close and not tense, I would have you husband work on teaching and practicing commands and tricks that use lure reward training (training where pup is luring into a position or action, and not touched). Regularly training pup calmly, having pup work for their food from him, can help to gently build trust and respect between them. Finally, when pup has made enough progress for this to be safe, under the supervision of a trainer, I would have your husband practice desensitizing pup to being touched by him. To do this, you would have pup ear their meals by your hatband giving pup a piece of kibble each time he gently touched pup. The touches would be gentle and only last as long as it takes pup to eat the treat from his other hand - such as touch a should while giving a treat. Touch their collar while giving a treat, ect... Starting with areas pup tolerates best and keeping touches brief. Again this should be worked up to and done under a trainer's supervision. You may also need to desensitize pup to wearing a basket muzzle (which is a type of muzzle pup can open their mouth while wearing and be more comfortable), so he could give them treats through the muzzle's holes while also being sure pup couldn't bite him. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Rory
Husky
1 Year
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Rory
Husky
1 Year

Hi. My girlfriend has a 1 year old Husky/possible Shepard mix which she rescued as a puppy. The dog seems to take to women a lot quicker than men, warmed up to her father, but I can’t seem to get her to trust me. She will wag her tail when I walk in the door initially, but after a few seconds she will go back to tucking the tail and keeping away (unless there’s food). Any tips? I’ve tried treats, spending time, playing and nothing seems to work.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
234 Dog owners recommended

Hello! It sounds like you are off to a good start. Continue doing what you are doing with treats and play time. In addition to that, if it's possible, you can start taking over some of her basic care. If you are over there during meal times, you should be the one feeding her. You can also start taking her for short walks. Walks seem so simple to us, and dogs seem oblivious while walking, but there is a deeply therapeutic process that happens when we walk dogs. When household dogs aren't getting along, walking them together almost always helps this issue. The same goes for establishing trust among dogs and humans. Give this a try. Implement these new practices and you will start to see her be more confident around you over the next 30 days or so.

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Josie
Boston Terrier
8 Years
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Josie
Boston Terrier
8 Years

Josie is a rescue, not sure of her history but there are some times when I approach her she gives me the whale eyes, one raised paw and will do submissive peeing but most of the time she is totally fine. I can’t figure out what causes her to seem so afraid one minute then fine the next. She also has serious issue with other dogs. When we go for walks if she spots another dog she loses it, lunging, growling and hackles raised. I try to remain calm and not tense on the leash but she gets so worked up I have to pull it to keep her from attacking. I’ve tried offering her treats to change her association with something positive but she takes the treats and still tries to attack the other dogs. I think it’s fear based more than aggression but I just am at a loss on how to help her not get so over the top as we live in an area with lots of dogs. Is there any chance we can overcome these 2 issues?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tiffany, For the submissive peeing, since it seems to be hard to pinpoint what's triggering it, I would focus on increasing her overall confidence. Things like agility obstacles and teaching regular new commands, that both help pup overcome new things, can help. You can buy or create your own agility obstacles, like tunnels, jumps, ramps, A-frames, weave poles, ect... Submissive peeing in adult dogs is honestly a tricky one to tell if it can be completely overcome. When it's a confidence issue or you can pinpoint what is setting pup off, the underlying confidence issue can often be addressed, or interactions managed better to avoid accidents. Submissive peeing can be a genetic issue as well though, so I suspect it can be improved with confidence building but I can't tell you whether it will be overcome completely. For the dog aggression, I recommend seeing if you can find a G.R.O.W.L. class in your area. That class is for dog reactive/aggressive dogs. The dogs all wear basket muzzles (which can be introduced with treats ahead of time so that isn't a bad experience), and are intensively socialized in a structured environment to more quickly help with underlying issues like fear or a lack of socialization. Another option would be to look for a training group in your area that specializes in behavior issues and has access to a lot of different dogs, to set up training scenarios where you practice desensitizing pup to another dog using rewards, interruptions, good timing, and the right distance and repetition. You need a controlled scenario where you can control those factors while training so pup can make progress. I can't say whether pup can completely overcome their aggression, but with the right help and time and work on this, you can likely at least get to the point where pup can walk past another dog and ignore them. Whether pup would be fine off leash with another dog without you there would be a different matter, I can't address without meeting pup and working with you in person. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Vader
Teacup Toypom
5 Years
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Vader
Teacup Toypom
5 Years

Vader is a rescue. He was locked in a cage with pitbulls and was in a bad condition when he was rescued. The husband of the couple that had him used to abuse him. He threw beer bottles at him, so he is petrified when he sees my fiance drink a beer out of a bottle. This man also abused his wife, so Vader is very protective of me.
He attacks my fiance if he tries to kiss me while we sitting on the couch or laying on the bed. My fiance can lean over the back of the couch to kiss me, as Vader hates this.
He is very wary of men. This past weekend we had some friends over and I think it was just to many people for him. He became very aggressive and was biting everyoand growling at everyone. The only person he was calm with was me. And if anyone came near us, he would growl at them.

What can we do for him to trust my fiance more? And also try to control the biting people?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, Vader had a rough start, and thank you to you for taking him away from that environment. Firstly, be very careful in what you do - perhaps do not have beer bottles around Vader right now and avoid large gatherings until he is more settled in your home and has had some training. I would contact a trainer to discuss the issues and get some training, whether it be in-home or at a facility. Either way, Vader will thrive as dogs really do love to train and it may be just what he needs (attention, learning how to behave, socialization with other dogs and people). You can also take a look here and maybe speak to a trainer: https://robertcabral.com/. To start at home, try this: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite. Read the entire guide through as there are excellent tips. Then work with Vader every day on the "Leave It Method". As well, the "Bite Inhibition Method" is good for when he tries to bite. Don't punish him; he has been through a lot. Work with consistency and kindness, and have your finance get involved with the feeding and walking of Vader. This will enable them to form a bond as well (have him work on the training also). Good luck!

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Lilly
Siberian Husky
2 Years
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Lilly
Siberian Husky
2 Years

Lilly was rescued from a puppy mill. She has obviously been abused. The shelter told us she was "skittish" but that was an understatement. She is in fear constantly, keeps her tail tucked between her legs. We have never seen her wag her tail or even bark [that part we are ok with, but shows something to be concerned about].
She will not take treat from our hand. She eats and drinks when it is dark and no one is near. She has picked three spots she stays. At night, we bring her into our bedroom where she lays by the door. Daytime, she mostly stays in a hallway, away from the rest of the house. Twice she has pooped inside the house.
We have found she like her muzzle and ears scratched. She cowers as either of us approach like she expects to be beaten. I approach slowly, on hands and knees to be on her level, and speak softly trying to keep her calm. She allows me to pet her only then. We keep her leash on her pinch collar that the shelter recommended. It doesn't take much to spook her into jumping up and down.
She allows us to take her out but makes no signal she needs to go out. We take her out first light and just before bed and 3-4 times in the day. She is fine as long as the routine is exactly the same. If there is a package on the stoop, it frightens her. Anything out of the routine does the same thing.
We keep a leash on her all the time and it just lays on the floor. She seldom moves except to go to her food and water dish, which is at the other spot she likes to stay. We bought her a bed to lay on but she lays on the floor, sometimes just laying her head on the mat. She will kick it out in the middle of the room if she feels crowded.
We have a bag of greenies and another with biscuit type treats. 10 years ago we had to put down an AKC Golden Retriever that went nuts for a greenie, but Lilly will just lick it once and ignore it until we leave it on the floor--then she will eat it. The biscuits work the same.
We realize what we have in front of us. We know this has no quick fix. but any help would be appreciated. My email is gford@kc.rr.com if you would share anything.
Gary Ford
Liberty, MO

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
913 Dog owners recommended

Hello Gary, I would start by finding a professional trainer in your area who specializes in behavior isssues like fear and has a lot of experience with counter conditioning. A combination of time, food rewards (once pup is comfortable enough to take food from you), teaching lure reward training commands to build trust, and some confidence building activities like agility. As you have already discovered going slow, being calm, and keeping a consistent routine are also important. I would have someone come occassionally over a longer period of time rather than a few times back to back, since time and a lot of practice will be needed before pup is ready for the next step in training. Check out the article linked below and the section on shy dogs and humans. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-socialize-a-shy-dog/ I also recommend learning more about desensitization and counter conditioning. Check out the video channel I have linked below. It may be a bit of time before you can really start much of that since pup is still stressed about your presence and adjusting - most dogs won't accept food if highly stressed, so give pup a bit more time but don't give up on food rewards being a tool later just yet. https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXtcKXk-QWoivpkvXgqhAC44tlofiw-CS Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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KKW
Staffy Bull Pit
1 Year
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KKW
Staffy Bull Pit
1 Year

She was abused by older folks, and she is now afraid / timid around my parents. how can i proceed?

Caitlin Crittenden