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 Scared Rescue Dog

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Join date : 2016-03-16

PostSubject: Scared Rescue Dog   Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:07 am

Hello. I'm new to this forum, and just wanted to reach out to anyone who has a rescue dog that shows signs of ptsd. I rescued my 5yo Siberian Husky Cody, almost a year ago from a BFAS adoption event. He really is the sweetest dog, and we've given him so much love since we've had him. But if I raise my voice, just a little bit while attempting to "make" him listen to me, he curls into a submissive position and stops listening completely. While he's in this position, if I walk towards him, his ears lower and he looks petrified. If I pet him to reassure him, I'm not going to hit him, he licks his lips and just looks extremely uncomfortable. He's been like this ever since we got him, but I was hoping he would get over it eventually after living with us. But it has almost been a year, and he's still just as scared as he was when we first adopted him. We have no idea how his previous owners treated him, because the shelter he came from told us he was a stray. But it doesn't look good. Just wondering if there's anything I can do on my end. :/
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Female Join date : 2014-06-26
Location : west Texas

PostSubject: Re: Scared Rescue Dog   Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:30 am

welcome....you need to work on his confidence. easier said than done. I would, since you've had him a year, see if there is a local behaviorist who can come to your home and help you work on confidence boosting, and general bonding help. For now, you can work with him by hand feeding, to me that is a great way to start bonding and trust building, 2 things he is lacking. I do not have a rescue, so maybe someone else in the morning will hop on and have some other ideas. Remember, huskies are very stubborn, and making him listen is a trait that their independent nature just has, forming a bond and for him to trust you is a better approach for now. Work with feeding his kibble at his level (sit with him), talk in a soothing, calm voice, have him take his food from your hand, tell him good boy, repeat. It must be frustrating, but I am sure you can get through to him, at 5 years old, you have 4 years of mistreatment, and possibly him living on his own. He probably does not trust people in general. I wish you luck, and do things in a positive, calm, soothing manner. Some would say that may be "babying" him, however, I personally believe the first step in forming a relationship with this type of dog is through building his trust with you, and his confidence in himself, praise goes a long way for a timid dog. I really hope I help.....
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Female Join date : 2013-06-14
Location : Missouri

PostSubject: Re: Scared Rescue Dog   Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:05 am

My girl has a guilty streak in her and gets very small if you yell at her too but she tends to snap out of it pretty fast. I teach verbal as well as visual commands. If I have to yell at her to get her attention I follow it with a visual command so she knows she isn't in trouble, that I just want her to listen. If I have to yell at her because she is in trouble I usually keep yelling and she gets the hint. Teaching visual commands gives you a little more control to get through sensitivities such as this. Tone of voice goes a long way too. Not breaking out the "mom" voice to get his attention. Try using a higher pitched tone as you would if you were trying to goad him into playing.

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Male Join date : 2014-08-18
Location : Terlingua, Texas

PostSubject: Re: Scared Rescue Dog   Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:25 am

Howdy, your description of an abused dog is almost classic - and I'm really sorry about that.  It probably goes without saying that the older the dog the more ingrained the abuse and the longer it will take before he starts to come out of his shell.

I've had nothing but rescues for most of the dogs I've had in my life and one of them, a Lab I named Kalah, had obviously been kicked repeatedly, probably an older man for quite a while (and I'm male / was in my 50's at the time)  Like your Cody, we think that Kalah was about 5 when I got her so I have a pretty good idea what you're going through.  
You can also read about my exploits with my latest rescue, as Sibe named Sasha here.  Food aggressive / possessive  - pretty much to the extreme.  In both cases - scared or aggressive - I was dealing with a dog who was uncomfortable with people.

I agree with Amy that building his confidence in you - that you're not going to hit him - is the start.  As you're finding, it's going to take a long time to overcome and look for the little successes - that's what you have to build on.  It was several years before Kalah was completely comfortable with me moving my feet around her.  If she was laying beside my chair and I got up, she moved quickly to some other part of the house. I'm going to guess that she was 7 - 8 before she'd stay there and let me step over her (sometimes trip over her!)  

In addition to hand feeding, which I agree is one of the best ways to build the trust of any 'problem' dog I'm going to suggest that you limit all training to the absolute minimum until you start to see him come out of his shell.  He's scared and trying to make him do anything is only going to reinforce his feeling that he's not safe.  For example, if you choose to use hand feeding, have him come to you to eat.  Ask him to set - calmly (both you and him) and give him a couple of kibbles.  Take a few more kibble from his bowl and feed them a few at a time.  When both of you can set through a meal without you getting frustrated or him getting scared.  Toss a kibble off to one side and let him get it, then call him back to you, to set and continue feeding. It's during this type of experience - good for both of you - that you can begin to raise your voice a little.  When he's off getting that kibble you tossed, call him back in a voice that's a little louder - but not more commanding - than you've been using.  The object is to have him realize that a louder voice doesn't have to mean abuse.

It's taken me the better part of three years before I can safely reach down around he food bowl when Sasha's eating without having her react aggressively.  It's going to take you a couple of years to build the trust that he needs to develop.  

My thanks to you for taking on a dog who so desperately needs someone he can trust and for coming looking for a solution to the problem.  Don't give up on him but don't expect miracles - look for any small success and make a big thing over it.  That trust will come with time ...
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