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New dog and a few worries...

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by jolikyle, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. jolikyle

    jolikyle PetForums Newbie

    Sep 12, 2013
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    Hi everyone

    We very sadly had to say goodbye to our Boxer Kelli a while ago at the grand age of 9- a fantastic famly dog that was a lot of fun and very much part of our family.

    A few weeks ago we were told of a red setter being sold, she was 18 months old and the man had 7 dogs in total and a litter on the way and needed to downsize his numbers.

    My hubbie and I paid a visit and fell for Red with her big doe eyes. We couldn't believe how obedient she was- almost to an extreme- she lay flat on the ground the sec he said he name and never moved from his side we were amazed. She was quite shakey and trembling- we took it this was because we were strangers. She was an outdoor dog but he explained she was obedient and would train well for indoors too- as we intended if we took her she would come in in evenings.

    We left it a few days to think and then paid another visit and brought her home-that was at the weekend.

    Since then we have become more worried. we expected her to be nervous and timid in new surroundings but not to this scale. Any slight noise at all and shes hiding behind doors or cowering. She walks around with her back legs semi straight-as if shes ready to hit the deck. She walks perfectly on lead but any sign or another dog and she hides in close away from them- even though she was with 6 others dogs before.

    Its like shes lost her spark, no spirit, no excitement, first time we seen her wag her tail was yesterday (and this includes our visits to her previous home). She doesn't know how to play with balls etc, doesn't seem interested in bones, chew toys even treats arnt much interest to her.

    I made the mistake when out this morning of thinking we'd try a game of fetch and lifted a stick to get her to sniff it. Well, she was flat on ground as soon as she seen it in my hand and shook for a good ten mins after even tho I immediately put it out of her sight. It was like she expected me to hit her.

    She has a big pen now, a lot bigger than her previous (its now 10ft square) and she never explores- just lies in kennel. When we bring her inside she just lies there.

    We know we maybe shouldn't complain, shes not aggressive, not biting, not wrecking the house, only one toilet accident since she came home, walks so so well on lead, really well behaved with children etc.

    We just want to introduce her to some fun and not feels so scared and need some hints and tips on this. My hubby would have loved to get her trained to go out when he's clay pigeon shooting with him and across fields with him at farm but she's so easily scared at min this seems impossible.

    Any help, tips advice ffor making her relax and feel more at home greatly appreciated.

  2. SusieRainbow

    SusieRainbow Administrator
    Staff Member

    Jan 21, 2013
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    Ahhh, the poor little girl ! It does sound as though she's been mistreated, hopefully she's young enough to learn to trust you but I imagine it will take a long time and endless patience - which I'm sure you've got.
    We rehomed a 9 yr old dachshund, she was pretty anxious when we first got her but nothing like as bad as yours. 8 months on she's a joy to have around, but still uncomfortable with some situations.
    I can't really offer much in the way of advice, apart from not demanding or expecting anything of her and just surround her with calm and love. Does she enjoy her food ? I know you say she's not interested in treats - Tango still won't take treats if she's not comfortable with the people offering or her surroundings.

    Hopefully some-one more eperienced can offer you advice, meanwhile keep up the love and let her set the pace.
    Good luck with her .
  3. BenBoy

    BenBoy Banned

    Aug 31, 2013
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    Sorry to hear about your boxer.

    I would also agreed it sounds like she has been mistreated and trained using harsh methods.

    I think she mainly needs time and understanding. She will get there. Try not to force her with things too much.

    I am sure someone more experienced will offer advice
  4. Canarie

    Canarie PetForums Member

    Sep 4, 2013
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    I read the story with tears swelling up.Sounds like she has had a horrendous start to life.Pity the dogs and pups that are left behind.
    Thank goodness she has you.....
  5. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

    Feb 18, 2009
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    It sounds as if she has been very badly treated, and threatened with a stick if not actually hit with one. My rescue dog Ziggy was terrified of men with sticks when I first got her, and the rescue said they were sure she'd been hit. After she was settled with me, I took to carrying a stick like a walking stick when out with her, to acclimatise her to sticks as safe objects. I also changed her name. She turned into a happy and bouncy dog, but never forgot.

    Was the home you got her from her only one? If so, going back to visit would be out of the question for me. If she was in a different home before this one, the abuse might have happened there.

    Don't bother much with training at the moment, just let her settle in and get to know you. Be quiet and calm in your movements, no shouting, let her come to you for fuss and don't put any pressure on her over anything.

    You could try Zylkene (available online from the vetinary pharmacies) - it helps take the edge off. A DAP diffuser or collar helps dogs feel better and less fearful too.
  6. GingerRogers

    GingerRogers PetForums VIP

    Sep 13, 2012
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    Second and third just giving her some time to settle with you, she does sound like she has been treated badly whether from maliciousness or ignorance, she sounds very nervous poor lamb :(

    Just time for now and even keep her in for a bit till she settles with you a bit and learns to trust you, then start walks again in quiet places. When we got our latest little one we misguidedly thought she would be fine with dogs as she had lived with 3 others, but socialisation with 3 dogs does not equal all dogs we soon learnt, she also lived soley on a farm so was very nervous of all the new stuff she saw, could it be your girl has been similarly secluded.

    Time and patience and then start to introduce walks and toys and games and fuss gently and slowly, leave sticks out of the equation or any thing threatening, try soft balls, when she is ready, just rolling slow movements. She possibly doesn't know what play is, Ginge didnt. Try to move calmly and gently and not raise your hands and feet quickly, keep movements slow, just spend time sitting with her, with some food and let her come to it in her own time, build her own trust, they are very loving and fun dogs, but can be quite nervy, I hope it wont take too long for her natural exuberance to came back to the fore but it may do.
  7. sezeelson

    sezeelson PetForums VIP

    Jul 5, 2011
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    This dog is clearly fearful due to her past and has basically shut down.

    She will get over this with your help so don't despair!

    You are really going to have to be patient with her, she has probably never trusted a human being in her life & it's going to take time for her to overcome this.

    Never approach her of force her to be fussed or stroked. Only ever allow her to approach you and even then, keep it very short and sweet. Just being with you/ next to you would be a big step.

    Speak very softly around her and give her plenty of treats and food to help form a positive relationship with you.

    I would also look up and introduce clicker training, it can be really good for fearful dogs.

    It's likely she will start to misbehave as she comes out of her shell, it's very important you don't punish her for expressing behaviour though as it will do her no good and just add to her fear.

    Make sure you protect her from any guests too, make sure they totally ignore her.

    It will take a long time but don't give up! My boy doesn't sound as fearful as your girl is and took 3 months to start feeling comfortable and really trusting me. Good luck with her :)
  8. ouesi

    ouesi Guest

    You have to be careful assuming she was abused because of her behavior, some dogs are temperamentally just that timid and inappropriate (though not necessarily abusive) handling can make it worse. Either way, it doesn't matter if she was abused or not, this is the dog you have and you deal with what you have in front of you.

    Give her time and space. No expectations, just let her settle. A predictable routine is very soothing to this type of dog so if you can keep things routine, that helps. Doesn't have to be rigid, just predictable.

    Build her trust. Pleasant things happen in your presence. I'd stuff my pockets with treats and bits of kibble, and any time she acknowledges you in any way, quietly toss or hand her a treat. Make it low-key, not a big fuss. I would not ask for any obedience cues just yet.

    Personally I wouldn't really walk her just yet either. She can go in the garden to stretch her legs, and potty, otherwise I'd let her stay inside and get comfortable in her new home with as little stimulation as possible. One thing at a time. Her new home is scary to her, the outside world is scary to her, other dogs are scary to her, humans are scary to her... Let her deal with one thing at a time. Let home become a safe place first, then add something else like walks.

    Look for any and all signs of relaxation and reward that. It will not only help you start feeling better about her (she probably is picking up on your feelings), but it will encourage her to relax more.

    Honestly, I'd also engage the help of a professional to give you some one on one pointers. Timidity is not as benign as it seems. A shy/timid dog can easily slip in to an aggressive dog if the timidity is not addressed appropriately. This is the type of dog that often gains just enough confidence to try to make the scary thing go away (with aggression). You want to make sure you're focusing on helping her not be scared at all, and for the fears you can't fix, working on safe coping skills.
    Riff Raff likes this.
  9. jolikyle

    jolikyle PetForums Newbie

    Sep 12, 2013
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    Wow- thank u to each and everyone that replied! Amazing support and advice which is much needed.

    We introduced our brother's wee spaniel who is a great wee dog and she has found a friend, we were amazed. She wasn't scared or timid and the wee spaniel has brought her out of her shell a bit while with her which was so great to see considering how scared she is with other dogs!

    We are really just takin It slow with her like use have suggested and hopefully time will help, so far we've made some little progress.

    She's a big part of our family already so we'll not be giving up

    Thank u all again
  10. sbonnett76

    sbonnett76 PetForums Senior

    Apr 6, 2010
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    I can't really add much to what has already been said, but I did want to say how lucky she is to have found you and that hopefully, at only 18 months old, whatever may or may not have happened to her will gradually become a distant memory.

    Give her lots of time and patience, be prepared to take one step forward and two steps back (a few times probably!), don't become disheartened if you feel like you're getting somewhere one day, but don't the next and just make sure her environment is quiet, calm and relaxed.

    I remember when we first brought Roxy home, my husband was sweeping something up with a dustpan and brush and she kept sticking her nose in it. Very gently and with laughter in his voice, he told her to go away and moved her and you'd have thought he'd just thrashed her - she yelped like a baby and fell flat to the floor. We knew then that we had a long road ahead of us, but we got there and aside from her dog issues, she's the most wonderful family member we could ask for.
  11. fly0209

    fly0209 PetForums Newbie

    Sep 17, 2013
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    Her spaniel friend sounds like he may help a great deal. Good luck, she sounds like a sweetie in that shell of hers x
  12. Halo

    Halo PetForums Junior

    Sep 13, 2013
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    Awww bless her, give it time she will come out of her shell, she might not trust easily.
    My RC was timid when I first brought her home and also a bit frightful of new things but I know she wasnt treated bad, neglected maybe in just general socialisation and like your dog, my dog came from a house with 5 others, but my guess is maybe ours relied alot on their other pack members...?
    I guess no one really knows but let me tell you, 6 months on Ive ended up with a very outgoing girl :) Just give lots of love and time
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