Training a Dog That Was Abused

I have a 11 month old Pit Bull German Shepherd mix. I got her when she was 9 months old from a family that abused her (she has 2 missing ribs). I can't leave her in my car, because she chews everything up and I don't know why.

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She has chewed up my back seats, driver seat, cell phone charger, emergency brake, papers, and bottles in my car. I tried giving her bones and chew toys, but they are not helping at all. Things just got worse. Anyone have any advice? Having her doing this is really stressing me out.

By Marcella from Whidbey Island, WA

Answers:

Training a Dog That Was Abused

Good luck with your dog. Because we have a very special Rottenbox (boxer rottweiler mix) we are met with apprehension by people when we are out and about with the dog. Walking with our large brindle dog we pass by people and the expressions on their faces seem to say:"Yikes large attack dogs! That's hard to control. Look at the prong collar on it. Run for your lives!" So far from reality.

The truth is, our dog's neck is very large and thick, reminds me of a horse's neck, and we use a prong collar on her. She is a sweet, docile and well trained animal, thanks to the diligence of her owner, our son. I use this collar because I love this dog so much that I could not live with the thought of damaging this fine animal by strangling her windpipe. It is not a "choking control collar." It is the same as me putting my hands around her neck and putting a little pressure on it that is equal all around, like when I see her noticing a squirrel, or when I remind her to heel. It does not pierce or pinch her in any way. Over the years we have had other dogs succumb to collapsed trachea (whooping cough type coughing) that we unknowingly contributed to by yanking on their regular collars and training collars. The damage occurs when they are puppies straining on the leash.

If you want to turn-around this dog, get a prong collar on it, even if it is a fight at first, leave it on and ignore it for a while. Although it is not recommended to leave a "choke collar" on a pet unattended, you might feel confident that this one may not strangle your dog if left unattended for short periods. Some days later, periodically throughout the awake hours of your day rub around under it with your fingertips, praising, snacking and allowing the dog to lick your hand. Bond with the dog while it is getting used to the prong collar. Later still you can attach a leash to it and gently tug the dog to pay attention to you.

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Your dog may have already been a victim to throat damage but using the prong collar is the nicest thing you can do for yourself and the dog. It may look scary but it truly IS the most humane method of keeping your dog at your side. Your 8 month old pup can still overcome being a brat if you take charge now. Please be kind to it. My best wishes for your success.

P.S. Does a horse wear a tight collar around its neck? (12/06/2009)

By Pinksa

Training a Dog That Was Abused

The reason your dog chews things in your car is called "separation anxiety." Until he gets used to the fact that you will return every time you leave, you could try putting a muzzle on him right before you get out of the car. There are many different types of muzzles on the market, and the newer ones aren't as restrictive as the old ones were. (12/07/2009)

By Patty Lynn

Training a Dog That Was Abused

One, she's a teething age. Two, she's still very anxious. She probably was left alone, and when she wasn't, she was abused. A child who'd been abused and neglected would do something similar if left alone before being healed. Don't leave her alone and free in any area you don't want chewed, but have a little cage with a soft padding, and a chew you can put her in when you must leave, talk to her in a comforting tone, when leaving and when returning, give her a treat when you return, and lots of reassurance on your lap. (You don't want her to get used to jumping up for reassurance.)

It is way too soon to expect her to behave differently. Also, contact the Dog Whisperer for advice, Caesar I believe his name is on the show. He works with many dogs. Might even have you on the show. Tell them you want to correct her errors while she is young. (12/07/2009)

By PIKKA

Training a Dog That Was Abused

My sister-in-law adopted a dog from the shelter (she already had two). This newer dog seems very chilled out and relaxed, but when she's left alone, all hell breaks loose. Apparently she was in pretty bad shape when the shelter got her. My sister-in-law used to leave her in the bathroom when they'd leave the house, but she destroyed everything. So they started crating her (don't know if you can technically call it a crate, because it looks more like a large cage to me). She'd still freak out and try to get out of the cage, and she actually lost teeth, trying to escape.

So the vet gave them some sort of meds for the dog. I don't remember what they give the dog, but it's a common human drug (maybe like a Prozac or something else for mood). I think that for a while they had her on two meds; one for daily use, and another to be given about 30 minutes before leaving the house. I think they dropped the daily med because the dog was too loopy. But they still give her the med before leaving, and they put her in the crate/cage.

To me it's sad. But I've never had a pet behave this way, so it's kind of hard to judge. I don't know if something happened to the dog to make her this way, or if she's just naturally a little crazy (some of us people are that way, too!).

Why are you leaving your dog in the car in the first place? Where I live, it gets too hot to leave dogs/kids in the car for even a quick run into the convenience store. The heat is too dangerous. She might be happier left at home, rather than in the car. Even if she wasn't tearing up your car, I'd recommend you leave her at home instead of taking her along for the drive (unless traveling with her). I hope you find a good solution soon. (12/07/2009)

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By mrs.story

Training a Dog That Was Abused

Dogs rarely need drugs. Try Caesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, he's on TV, has a book and a website. I'm not a dog person, but if I ever had a dog, he would be the person I would go to. I now know why my husband's dog was not able to walk on a leash, because as big as my husband and his dog were, the DOG was the pack leader, not my hubby. The biting is anxiety. I promise you watch an episode or two of the Dog Whisperer, you'd think the guy was magic, but he really explains why a dog acts the way he does. Try youtube for instant videos of him. (12/09/2009)

By michawnpita

Training a Dog That Was Abused

Exercise, exercise, love, more exercise. I have always found that two dogs are better than one. They exercise each other. Yard required. Your time with them is important. Sure, they might do some puppy things together, but this is a high energy kid. Having 2 is more to love and they have each other when you cannot be there. Visit the shelter for another. I don't suggest dogs being locked in a car. If you travel and have to crate, but never leave them alone for more than a few minutes. (12/09/2009)

By muttmom

Training a Dog That Was Abused

Don't take your dog in the car. This animal has obviously had something terrible happen to it in a car. Please give this animal lots of love and respect. (12/10/2009)

By Carol in PA

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