Helping an Abused Dog

By ria 1

This is our a 2 yr old Lab/mix. She will only eat in her crate laying down. How do I get her to eat standing up and outside of her crate? Right now she is not eating or drinking water. She is an abused dog from Georgia.

By Ria from East Hartford, Ct

Helping an Abused Dog
Filter Sort

By vicki hood 4 563 Flag

February 22, 2011

What is this not eating or drinking? Can you hand feed? Offer water? Your new baby is terrified and it will just take some time for her to trust. When she finds she is a family member, not crated or tied or locked up or ignored or beaten she will be the best, most faithful, loving dog. Treats from your hand, praise for potty outside, easy on the scolding should she have an accident inside, peacefulness, warmth, love, touching, good food, build good immune system, borax in the carpets for fleas, no vaccines(see and you will never vaccinate anything), food grade diatomacious earth for intestinal worms, all the good stuff like love and kisses and she will return ten fold good things for the family.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

By Judy = Oklahoma 60 750 Flag

February 22, 2011

If she's only eating/drinking in her crate, maybe that's because she feels safe there. I don't have any experience with this (although you're going to get a lot of it in the archives below), but I'd suggest to continue feeding her in her crate for now, but maybe leave a bowl of food & water in a quiet place not real close to people so that she has that option if she wants to try it. Also, maybe while she's in her crate, put a small treat or couple of pieces of dry dog food on the floor just outside the crate until she gets curious & decides to try it,then continue to do this & over a few days move the treat farther & farther away from her crate until she will come out & eat it.

Right now I think you should just continue to feed her where she feels most secure & give her a calm & loving environment while you try to get her to try the food you leave outside her crate. Poor baby, she's a pretty thing. I hope she comes around & realizes she's left her abuse behind & will only get love from now on!

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

By xintexas 28 395 Flag

February 22, 2011

I agree with lyonpridej. I think her advice is right on. Also put treats several times a day in the bowl outside the crate so she will get use to eating out of that bowl. She will come around slowly. Give her lots of time and you will see patience works

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

By Sherri 10 551 Flag

February 22, 2011

Aww. she is adorable! Your fur-baby needs to learn to trust you. She was probably only fed in a crate that is why she eats there. Please leave the door open for her and put her food/water outside the crate nearest the opening so she can reach it. Give her lots of loves and speak softly to her to re-assure her. Good luck.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

thr601446 Flag

March 1, 2011

Here's my two cents:

EXERCISE then DISCIPLINE and then and only then AFFECTION. We need to remember one very simple truth: Dogs are not humans. Now matter how much we want them to be they do not see the world and express themselves in the same way that we do. Not understanding how a dog thinks is detrimental to the dog.

I would use techniques that display leadership rather than dominance. You don't want to challenge the dog, but rather show the dog that you are the Alpha and he need not worry about anything because you are in charge. The leader of a pack would not allow another member to be emotionally unstable. Use a 'touch' correction - where you use your fingertips as teeth and jab the dog in the neck just enough for him to feel it, but be sure not to push, just jab. This is normal in the dog world and the dog would associate that with a bite from another dog rather than abuse from a human. This dog needs and wants leadership and instruction so he can feel calmer.

*Note, it is counter productive to pet or caress your dog when it is nervous. That only reinforces the behavior.

Dogs, unlike humans, don't need to be coddled when they're upset, they want and need to be able to look to a leader that they trust to make the decisions and to take care of them. It is calming to a dog that is not alpha dominant to be directed in some way, THAT is what calms a dog down. If there is a time when the dog is starting to get nervous, try distracting her w/ commands. A good distraction is to command the dog to sit or lay down.

Next, you must be patient and not display agitation at the dog. The dog will pick up on that negative emotion and therefore will not respond like we want.

To help build your bond, I would suggest that you walk with the dog a minimum of 5 days a week. The 'walk' is very therapeutic for dogs mentally and it will also help build your bond with him. The catch is that the walk is only useful if it is done correctly. The dog cannot be pulling or distracted. He needs to be focused on you and moving forward. This will take time, patience and determination, but is vital to having a happy dog.

Also, lots of exercise will help to calm him by burning some of that nervous energy.

*Note, there is a misconception that a big backyard is as good as a walk. This is so very untrue. The dog sees a backyard, no matter how big it is as a big cage. Yes, they can play and have fun, but NO it is not a substitute for walking with your dog.

At the same time, at home we can do some exercises that will help develop trust. With a treat, gradually try to get the dog to come to out of the kennel (this is his 'safe spot', which he NEEDS to have and should always be available for him. I suggest you use a small bit of meat to be able to tempt the dog (hard to resist a hot dog!).

We also need to make sure we are aware of how dogs view body language. A dog sees prolonged eye contact and full frontal body exposure as a challenge. This will immediately scare off the dog. We do not want to stare at the dog or to come squarely at the dog. We want to use our peripheral vision and we want to position our body to the side and get on the floor rather than standing. This demonstrates non threatening behavior on your part. This will help desensitize the dog and help the dog see that you are not a threat (like some other human figures in the beginning of the dog's life).

During any of this training it goes without saying that continuous positive reinforcement be used when the dog does something good. This can be talking in a soft, high pitched voice, a scratch in a favorite spot, or a treat.

This is not, by any means, an exhaustive list of to do's. This is just a quick blurp of info. None of this is, by any means, easy. This will take time, patience, dedication and determination on both of your parts.

Good luck and I recommend to watch the Dog Whisperer on The National Geographic Channel!


**Kudos to all of the ppl out there that have a shelter pet!!

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes


Question: Abused Dog Afraid of Men

By alibeth05 7 3

I am currently babysitting a dog that was formally abused by a man. I am a woman and it took her a couple days to get used to me and now after three months she has total trust in me. She continues to growl at my husband and run away from him. I totally understand the dog's situation and know it takes time and patience. Any thoughts to help her accept my husband more?

By Beth P

AnswerWas this helpful? Yes


Most Recent Answer

By Tess Vowels 97 Flag

December 2, 2011

Time & much patience. He just needs to remain calm & unthreatening. Maybe even carry treats in his pocket to entice... gently!

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

Read More Answers

Archive: Helping an Abused Dog

We rescued a dog yesterday from being put down. The dog is a pure breed German Shepard 5 mo female. She was trained to be a K9 dog, but the trainer gave her up because she was not aggressive enough. The dog is very skiddish of everyone. She has only let my husband and son pet her. But as of today, she will not let anyone pet her. We purchased her a dog house and bed late last night because she would not come inside. It is freezing outside. She has not used the house or the bed yet. She is however eating. Not a great deal but enough. She is not drinking well though. We were hoping to take her to the vet Saturday. But I do not think we'll make it. She will not come near us. I think the trainer must have been really cruel to her or she doesn't trust anyone. Please help!

Belk Family from Charlotte, NC


RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Poor baby, she sounds very traumatized. I wonder if she was trained not to take food from anyone but her trainer. Maybe you can talk to one of the trainers or someone who does K9 training so you can try to use what they have already taught her to make friends with her.

Trust needs to be developed. Because dogs are pack animals, they really want to be with other dogs or people. It just takes some time.

Just keep trying to make friends with her and talk to her in a soft voice, telling her this is her home and she is safe. If she has already let your husband and son touch her, they might be the best to keep trying to approach her.

Good luck with her. I've never dealt with a dog in the same situation as yours but our dog was very shy when we first got her. She's a gregarious family member now, but it took about a month for her to feel at home enough for her to be herself.

Susan from ThriftyFun (12/02/2005)

By ThriftyFun

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

May God bless you richly for your kindness to this dog.

You've made a wonderful start, in that you truly care about her. Susan has given you some great advice, too.

Call your vet, even if you're not taking the dog in for an appointment right away. Ask them to recommend a certified dog trainer, then get in touch with the trainer right away. Even if you can't afford their services, you might get some bits of advice. And sometimes trainers are very reasonable in price. If you live near a university, contact them and ask if they have free or lowcost services of an animal behaviorist. Don' t be ashamed to ask -- you're doing something good.

Also, search "German shepherd rescue" on any Internet search engine. You should find a list of rescue groups that specialize in shepherds. Write to them via e-mail, or join their online groups. These people are very helpful and experienced.

Get some really yummy treats -- not dog food, people food. It will NOT hurt her to eat common-sense kinds of people food, like beef, turkey, chicken, or cheese. Cut it into small bites, and let your husband and son feed her one piece at a time. Drop the pieces on the ground at first, if you have to, but slowly work at getting closer to her. Gradually progress to using these treats as a way of rewarding only her "good" behavior, such looking at a person or coming near.

Keep feeding her as you normally would, but reserve the treats for training rewards. Never challenge or punish her, but always reward the good stuff, no matter how small. And reward it IMMEDIATELY -- within a second or two. Dogs think in very small time segments.

Be sure she has warm straw in her doghouse, and water that is not frozen. Be prepared for a long effort, since she has apparently been through a lot of suffering. Keep at it, and remember, you are saving this girl's life. Please let us know how it goes.

zballoongirl (12/02/2005)

By zballoongirl

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Thank you both. She is still eating and drank quite a bit this morning. I called and left a message with the vet. She will call back later in the morning. I had taken a towel and wrapped it around the heating pad last night and put it on top of her dog bed. I know she had to of used it, because this morning I found it by her spot she likes at the corner of the fence. She is getting better with being afraid. You can tell by her tail wagging and it not between her legs. She will circle me but never get any closer than about 2 ft from me. Today it is suppose to be warmer. I will continue to sit in the yard in hopes she get closer or even let me pet her. Thank you all.

The Belks (12/03/2005)

By jeniferjensen

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

All of the suggestions posted are excellent. I truly believe a trainer will be your best bet with her. Hopefully the trainer will let her know it is okay to live in the house.

I have two rescue dobies, and even though they are indoor dogs, 3 and 4 years old, they love their kennelaire crates. The doors are never closed but they feel secure taking naps and sleeping at night in them.

Please keep us updated on her progress. Bless your hearts for saving her. Rescued companion pets are the best!

Alexandria, Va. (12/03/2005)

By ILuvDobes

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Get some professional advice from a trainer since she was being trained to be an aggressive work animal. I would be careful. I always thought that when a dog was being trained to be used as a K-9 dog that the dogs weren't abused but treated as a work companion. I would hope that this so-called trainer was reported and not allowed to train in the future.

By mkymlp

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Bless you for giving this dog a loving home and not giving up!
If you haven't found a trainer to help you, contact Andy Bunn and /or Trent Parker at Total Canine Training. They have a website, so you can check them out and contact them by email if you prefer. If they can't help, they can recommend a fear/aggression specialist.

These guys are worth every penny they charge, and then some. They are very humane, and the training your dog will get is a lot more effective and thorough than, say for example, Pets Mart. (No disrespect intended....the trainers there do good work, but it sounds like your dog needs more help than what Pets Mart can offer)
My husband and I both grew up with dogs and have always had at least one of our own in addition to the occasional foster dog. We never thought we would have to resort to a professional trainer, BUT...

We have 2 rescue dogs, both shepherd mixes. One of them was almost a year old when we adopted him and he had a troubled childhood, being bounced from one foster home to another; no consistency, no rules, etc. He had not been abused, but he was a gigantic bag of nerves, high strung and hard to train. We kennel trained him with Andy and Trent for 2 weeks, and got back a whole new dog! One of them will come to your home and do a couple of private lessons with you as a follow up to the kennel training and they offer really good group classes as well. (which we have continued with both of our dogs)

In addition, they have boarding facilities with an attached dog park that they offer only to training clients. I always hated boarding my dogs before, knowing that they would be locked up in chain link and concrete, but my "boys" love it there; they think they are going to camp!
Anyway, good luck and God Bless! (12/03/2005)

By Sharon9824

<img src="" hspace="10" vspace="10" alt="RE: Helping an Abused Dog">

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

All 3 of my kids suggest The prayer of St Francis[he was an animal lover].
Love and patience are tried and true but doesn't work overnight.
She's wagging?-Good sign!

By coacheer2002

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Major kudos to you for rescuing her. I've had more than 1 abused dog I've rescued. It just takes time like everyone else is saying. But you will have a totally different dog in time. It's such a rewarding experience to rescue & rehabilitate a dog so they become a happy well adjusted dog. And with my experience, it's rare that a dog doesn't adjust. I've had very emotionally disturbed dogs that became the most laid back dogs & you would never believe they were abused. All the suggestions are good. Treats, praise, & more treats. Since it's cold you must get her inside. Even if it means tricking her. It's for her own good. If it takes several people then ok. Just so everyone is upbeat & heaping praise. Once she's inside it will also be easier to get her to adjust to having lots of people love her. (12/03/2005)

By Vicki

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

I rescued a puppy last summer. She, too displayed the very behaviors you have described. She laid on the back porch for a month, did not play, bark, but would take off as soon as I exited the house. She seemed terrified of me. I would talk to her gently and give her plenty of fresh water and food and snacks. When it became bitterly cold a few weeks ago I found that she refused to go into a dog house nor could I coax her to come into the house...she would just bark and whine. So I put two big fluffy blankets on the porch for her. She took both of them and placed them in the yard where she wanted them and seems to be happy. I tried to pick them up to shake them out and wash them and she ran quickly to get on them so that I would not take them. If she thinks I am going to get her 'blankies' she races to get on them. Be patient. I believe your new family member will come around. Blessings to you! (12/03/2005)

By 1dog4felines

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

I can definitely understand what you are going thru. Now that the dog is warming up to you, one thing I found was that when you are both outside, lay down, yes, just lay down, I would almost bet she will come up to you to see what you are doing. Keep doing this until she lays down with you. Keep one arm out, palm side down, let her sniff you, lick you, just about everything, when she lays down with you gently put your hand or arm on her paw, don't kuddle her quite yet, let her make the first move and see what happens. Please keep us informed of how it turns out. Good Luck (12/03/2005)

By Stacey L.

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

I wanted to let everyone know, we contacted a trainer that will come to our home Monday. I found out tonight she likes KFC. She would not take it from my hand, so I gently tossed it towards her. She ran away of course, but soon discovered what it was. We had torn all the meat off and discarded the bones. She loved it and since then, she has been coming up to the sliding glass door. Just looking in. If we approach the door she stays put. But when we open it she'll dart off. I believe we are making progress. We spent a lot of time outside with her today just talking to her and sitting still. We'll do the same everyday until she trusts us enough. My son even laid down and she approached him, but did not make any contact. We will try thr KFC again Sunday. I appreciate all the advice!!!

The Belks (12/03/2005)

By jeniferjensen

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Thank you for the update! She is a smart girl and can be reprogrammed to be a cherished member of your family!

Please be careful with chicken bones. Take the meat off first! If they cut her throat, you will not be able to take her to the vet. I would never give mine anything but a thick beef bone (which I bake slowly in the oven with garlic and they love them).

Thanks again for the update!

Alexandria, Va

By ILuvDobes

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

I'm always glad to hear that someone has rescued a doggie in need of a home. Just be gentle to her and give her lots of love. Hang in there. (12/05/2005)

By teddygirl

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

My friend just took in a small dog who was being abused by a larger dog in the family. He was all cut up from attacks from this dog. The dog slept on the bed with him but when the alarm went off he urinated all over the bed. He thinks a shock collar will help, I'm against that. I think it is cruel and how could that help anyway? The dog is scared. What is your suggestion?

(b)Editor's Note: (/b) Something like that would just terrify the poor little guy, he needs some time to heal, lots of love and reassurance. It will take him a week or two to realize that the other dog isn't there and he is safe. He definitely should be seen by a vet as soon as possible to make sure he doesn't have any infections from the attacks. (08/24/2006)

By karlie

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

We adopted a mixed Dachshund and Chihuahua 4 mo. old two weeks ago. She is afraid of everything and everyone. I laid down on the floor, and she eventually came and laid beside me. As the days pass, she is showing more love toward me...tho still very frightened. She will not come to me when I call her and continues to wet in the house, even having been taken out every 30 minutes. She does make it through the night in her crate tho. All suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks so much! (05/26/2007)

By Grace from SC

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Last week the cable man came to our house and we have a guard dog so we took our guard dog for a small walk and we walked upon a small abused puppy. when he saw us he slowly got up and walked toward us. The dog seem a little dead by the way he was walking you can tell he was not that close from death. His old owner was cruel. The dog had a hair ribbon and a fishing line tied around his neck for a leash. My daughter took him home and bath him and gave him some food and water and we put him in the glass house so he can be comfy. In the glass house we were sure he would like it there , it had air conditioning and everything. My daughter makes sure that she goes out side and plays with him everyday. But he seems shy and he doesn't come to anyone but her. She comes to me and says ma i think something is wrong with the puppy. I said why, she said because he does not look happy or seem happy, but he still seems sad or sick. My daughter said well since he was mistreated with her other owner he might think that were here to mistreat him too. How can we help him trust us.


(b)Editor's Note:(/b) Please take him to the vet. He may be sick, hurt or be traumatized but in either case, he should be checked out. It does take a while for dogs to trust after they have been abused or abandoned. Just take your time and let him come to you. Treats always help. Also pay very close attention to his reactions to your body language, if you raise your hands, clap your hands, etc. and see if he reacts like he is frightened. Just give it time but also, please take him to the vet. (07/21/2007)

By Briona R

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Please take that poor baby to the Vet immediately.

I cannot imagine being sick and injured and being left untreated.

What is a "guard dog"?

Northern Virginia (07/21/2007)

By ILuvDobes

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

I have a question for the audience. I have a neighbor who has a beautiful dog, looks to be part terrier and maybe part sheltie. Anyway, these neighbors had two dogs for a time but one died suddenly. I personally question the circumstances of the other dogs death, but being that I've lost control on an earlier occasion with these people and their treatment of two previous dogs they had, which suddenly disappeared, I can not confront them for fear of being arrested. My concern is not really the dead dog because as they say let dead dogs lay. No pun intended, but rather the current and surviving dog. You cannot see any overt abuse on this dog. However, it is kept in a garage in a kennel, size I have not been able to determine.

When it is let out it is put into a fenced area that is certainly large enough but they leave the dog no water, no food and no shelter sometime for hours or even an entire day in either sweltering 90 degree or higher or freezing temps. When it is a nice day and they leave the dog out they totally ignore the dog. The poor thing is just starved for attention. When you go near it when it's in the fenced area it barks viciously until you get close at which time he wags his little tail off and tries to get you to pet it. He just whines and barks sometime for hours when the kids of the house are out as he watches them hoping for some attention the whole time. But they just ignore it as if it weren't even alive.

I don't know what to do and my heart breaks for this poor dog. Does anyone have any suggestions. I've called the Sheriffs office but they say I have to call the Humane Society. When I call the Human Society they tell me they do not service the area I live in because we are in the county. I would love to take matters into my own hands and take the dog, but I don't want to end up in jail for assault or theft. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I live in El Paso County, Colorado.

Most of the neighbors don't understand why they even have dogs or a dog now because of the way they ignore the poor animal. However, I am the only one that has had the kahonnas to confront them, although I did get rather aggressive and I guess scared the hell out of them at least enough for them to have called the sheriff on me for assault. No I didn't hit or make contact with any of the family. However I did kind of threaten the husband. My bad.... Anyway, any help will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Doug S
Falcon, Colorado (07/28/2007)

By smithdw55

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

I am in the same position. I purchased a K-9 protection dog about 8 months ago. He has been acting like hes been abused but I didn't know for sure. I had 3 trainers and 3 vets look at him and so far all 6 and me agree he was severely abused.

We have just found scars from whips under his fur and the most recent trainer has verified my dog grow up in a crate most likely 23 hours a day because his paws have not grown correctly. I don't know what to do but I want to make it known to PETA or the attorney generals office or whomever high up about the "breeder" I bought him from as well as stop further abuse to any more dogs of his or anyone else's from this abuse.

My dog was definitely abused and I'm not sure what to do from here or who to talk to to investigate the "breeder". If you have any information on where i may start, please let me know. I can be contacted at mcar659056 AT or 908.420.0972.

I unfortunately cant provide any advice that hasn't already been given for your current situation but I do congratulate you on efforts in helping an abused animal. Thank you! Without people like you, God only knows what more harm could have been done. Thank you again! If you do or anyone has any information on how I might be able to protect the current dogs in this breeders care as well as others PLEASE let me know where I can start. Thank you, Mike (10/21/2007)

By Michael C

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

I rescued a 16 mo old Golden from the local rescue group he had been turned in by his owner because the dog he said is stupid and can't learn. I have had him 10 weeks, he is house broken, loves to play fetch etc and sleeps in my bed and adores my sons however, he has yet to bark and is terrified of everything: ie sudden movements, things in your hands like, remote control of the tv, fly swatters, etc. He doesn't come when called, eats like somebody is going to sneak up behind him, and wack him.

He is skinny but putting on weight slowly. My question is why doesn't he bark? My female golden whom he seems to adore barks all the time and this poor baby walks around with a worried look on his face, I'm doing the best I can he's an inside dog of course being a Golden sticks close to me and does fine left home inside with his new sister but will he ever lose this fear he has? Any suggestions? He really is a gentle soul. (11/25/2007)

By Helen

Archive: Helping an Abused Dog

I have adopted a 10 month old dog from a lost dogs home. When I am feeding him, if I try and touch him, he growls, etc. Tonight when I fed him, he bit me. Any training tips for this out there? I just want him to know that he will always get his dinner, and that there is no need for him to guard it.



RE: Helping an Abused Dog

The best resource would be local animal rescue groups in your area or you can try calling your local (preferably no-kill) animal shelter or police animal control to report the potential animal abuse. People who abuse animals are a short step from abusing people. looks like a useful resource to find local animal rescue groups.

Oh, and don't forget about the click-to-give at

Editor's Note Thanks Anon for the links. This person would like help in teaching her rescued dog that it has a good home now, and will always be fed. Sally for ThriftyFun (01/20/2008)

By Anon

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Regarding food issue: When you feed him, do it from several different bowls placed in different areas of the house. Not more food, just divide it up among different bowls. In this way, he will hopefully figure out that he has access to more than just that one bowl of food and doesn't need to be possessive of it. I suggest you check out Warren Eckstein's website: This is advice I learned from listening to his show.

In the meantime, I'd give him his space while eating. Stay in the same room perhaps, but don't stare or touch him. Let him get used to your presence and once he really learns that he doesn't need to worry about food, he will probably lighten up.

Regarding skiddish dog: Time and patience. Our rescue was 9 months old and afraid of all kinds of things. A man was definitely not nice to her. She wouldn't let my husband near her for two weeks. If she responded to your husband and son before, pick ONE of them to be the main contact with her for the time being. The rest of you may just need to hang back until she is more comfortable. Maybe have him approach her with something irresistible, like steak, in order to reestablish contact with her.

Eating and drinking are the last things on a dog's mind when they are nervous. Unless she needs immediate medical attention, I'd wait on the vet until she is a bit more comfortable. It sounds like she has had a lot of change and needs to get used to her new situation with you before she's going to calm down. My girl (now almost four years old) loves my husband and while she is no golden retriever, she is much more comfortable with new people and new situations.
Good luck to you both. Kelly, Michigan (01/20/2008)

By Kelly Krumm

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Allow the dog time to adjust to its new owners, home environment and meal time. Patience is the key word and sit near the dog while it's eating, but don't bother the food bowl once it has been given to the dog or touch the dog while it's eating, as it's apparent the dog doesn't trust yet.

You might want to try extending treats to the dog other times during the day and let it take it from your hand once its more comfortable with you. Have family members talk to the dog often so it can get used to your voices and pet the dog too. This way the dog will learn to trust all of you more. (01/20/2008)

By Lorelei

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

The Australian RSPCA uses the hand in the food bowl as a last check to see if a rescued and retrained dog is family suitable. If the dog remains possessive over its food (continues to growl and bite) it is not able to be placed in a home.

While you are trying to coax him around, give him encouragement when eating. Try to train him to wait for his dinner once it is placed on the ground, you might need other treats to keep his mind off the dinner bowl as you get started.

I wouldn't let any children play with the dog until you are satisfied that the possessiveness has gone. Once he feels safe and comfortable in your home, test his behavior yourself doing things children might. (01/20/2008)

By moncarroll

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Give these abused babies time. Some need days, some weeks, some months and some years. I have a puppy mill Bichon Frise. She was in a cage for 3 1/2 years and has been with me since Sept 2006. She is still skittish at times. She does come to me and she does play and she loves me very much, but about 2 months ago she was in front of the bathroom door and the lights were off and I couldn't see her. I almost stepped on her and yelled. For 10 days she reverted to the way she was a year and 3 months ago. She wouldn't come to me and she slept on the floor instead of in bed with us. I was distraught and considered giving her back to the rescue group since she was so terribly unhappy, but I held out and continued to talk to her and sit on the floor with her and she came around. I guess she was just insulted. Give your babies time and love and they will come around. And bless you all for taking them in and giving them forever homes! (01/21/2008)

By daiquiri

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

It takes lots of love, patience, and understanding. 10 years ago we adopted our dog Lady, she had been beaten, and yelled at, she would run under the bed at the slightest loud noise. She was with us almost a year before she would wrestle with my husband or chase a ball with my daughters. Just keep the food bowl full, stay in the room when he eats, and just talk to him in a soft reassuring voice. It will take time but it's worth it, I have never regretted getting our Lady. Good luck. (01/21/2008)

By audrey

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

My advise for now is to just leave him alone when he is eating. Too many changes have occurred in his life already. Please let him adjust. It may be that he will always be food protective. If this is the case, do not let any young children to be near him when he eats. On the safe side, feed him in his crate. Woofey (01/21/2008)

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Well I have a different take than the others. If it were mine I would hand feed it every morsel one by one. Use a glove if you need to, but he will learn that the hand is a good thing, not a bad thing. Very time consuming, but well worth it. (01/21/2008)

By penny

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Give your dog a chance to get use to you and don't try to touch him, he will eventually realize you mean him no harm and will warm up to you. Just talk to him every day in a soothing voice and don't show fear around him, dogs can sense this in people. He is just afraid he will be punished or hit. When a dog bites you it's because he has been hit before and it is a defense mechanism. Just be patient and don't force him, he will come around when he senses he can trust you. (01/21/2008)

By crazylady4christ2007

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

I have nothing but praise for anyone that rescues a dog or any animal for that matter. But please tell me why on earth would you want to pet the dog while he is eating? Let him be and let him eat. Then give him love and affection. (01/22/2008)

By msettamae2

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Thank you everybody for your interesting comments. You have given me many new ideas to think about. I really love this website - don't you all too? Thanks, Kate (01/23/2008)


RE: Helping an Abused Dog

My neighbor has a dog. It's a white husky, one eye is blue and the other eye green. He's about 5 months old and he's adorable. They keep him in their apt. tied to a very short leash in the kitchen. They don't feed him and don't give him much water so they don't have to walk him. When he does need to do his necessities he does it there in that little spot where they keep him. No one cleans it. His white fur is all stained yellow from him sleeping on his own pee. The apt. is in horrible conditions, too. You can smell it from the outside. I've told them to give him away. That I will find someone who will take care of it, but they refuse to do it since they want to sell it for $1,500. He cries all the time. I recently contacted a animal rescue to save it but they haven't responded. The poor puppy cries all day. Any place I can contact? Thanks. Nicole

Editor's Note: Nicole, you could try contacting the landlord. They probably wouldn't be happy with the situation. Also keep calling animal control and see if you can get other neighbors to call, too. It sounds like a situation worth resolving. (04/18/2008)

By Nicole

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Reading all this feedback is very helpful. I bought a King Charles Cavalier about 4 months ago and was told he was a 2 year old, shy dog in good health. It turned out he was 9 years old, had infections in both ears, rotten teeth (they pulled 11) and still runs whenever we come in the room from years of neglect and abuse (according to our Vet). Even though he uses the doggie door often, lately he's been going on the floors again. We have had him fixed, put in a chip, healed, cleaned, etc. and try to love on him as often as we can. I now realize this is going to take some time before he doesn't feel afraid of us, and it may take a long time. (05/08/2008)

By Susan from Dallas, TX

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Give it time to get used to a nice loving family. He will learn to trust you in time.

By Tamara

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Hello Kate,
I have also recently adopted a dog and she likes to bite and I have found that if they try, pull the dinner away and say no and then give it back and try to pet him again. If he bites pull it away and say "no" and keep doing it until he stops. But do not try to leave him without food.

By alex.

Dog Abuse

I think you should leave the bowl there, when he isn't in the room just fill it again. A good way to tell dogs who is boss, is to barely tap them on their nose. That is their weak spot and they will lay down. (02/10/2009)

By Alyssa

Archive: Helping an Abused Dog

I have a 5 mo. old Chihuahua. I believe he was abused. He won't take treats from me and stays in his little bed all day. What can I do to help him?

By hooper from Rockport, TX


RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Some dogs don't like to eat in front of people and will only eat when people are gone. Also, some dogs associate treats with something they don't want to do. My dog knows a treat means bedtime. As for staying in his bed all day, maybe he's scared of the new place. Are there noisy kids around? Loud music? I believe he'll come out of it in time, but would suggest a good physical if you haven't already done that. (05/28/2009)

By Glenn'sMom

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Run don't walk to the Vet, your dog needs a thorough examination. God Bless you for rescuing your furbaby. Good luck.

By Dorie

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Be very, very patient with him. As Glenn'sMom mentioned, he might not wanna eat when you're watching. I adopted a Siamese cat about 12 years back and he spent the first 3 months under my bed. I put a litter box under there for him. I fed him there. Eventually, he came out. Bless you for adopting this wee baby. (06/02/2009)

By druidana

Archive: Helping an Abused Dog

Kali, my Springer Spaniel, had been abused by her former owner when I brought her home at 9 months. She is afraid of men and will avoid them, but when they turn away she will run up and bite them.

I have tried scolding her, but it has just made her behavior worse. She now attacks anyone who comes up the driveway. I am afraid someone will sue and I am thinking of getting rid of her. What can I do?

By animallover from Salamanca, NY


RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Please don't give up on your dog. Is it possible for you to watch some episodes of "It's Me or the Dog" on the Animal Planet Channel? Good luck. (04/13/2010)

By Jean and Maggie

<img src="/images/feedback_image.lasso?id=42196107" width="103" height="95" alt="RE: Helping an Abused Dog">

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Professional animal behavior training classes where you both attend, too! (04/13/2010)

By Deeli

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Please don't give up! Contact ESRA - English Springer Rescue America for help. It is a national rescue group strictly for English Springer Spaniels. My DH and I belong in Ohio. We are foster parents for dogs at various times when they are rescued. We keep them until their "forever" homes can be found. I also suggest you watch The Dog Whisperer, maybe you can get DVD's from your local library. Springer Spaniels are great family dogs and great with children. You have to win her trust back. (04/14/2010)

By Deborah570

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

I have 2 suggestions which have helped me with my rescue dog. Get "Control Unleashed" by Leslie McDivitt. It's a great book for helping a dog which is hyper whether by life history or by breed; next check into T Touch, it's a massage for dogs. It works to ease a scared dog. My dog tends to hyper and he's gotten closer to me since I started doing this for him.

Then other suggestion is go to and signup with some groups to get some help. There are some amazing people in there more than willing to help, just like this site. See this as a challenge, not a test and you'll find your attitude will make a difference in how you relate to the dog. (05/11/2010)

By deethundercloud

Archive: Helping an Abused Dog

<div align="right">

<img src="" width="300" height="250" border="1">
I have adopted a 4 year old registered male Australian Shepherd. It is obvious that he has been abused. He is very hyper, not the typical Aussie hyper, but run away hyper. He has climbed out of an 8 ft. high kennel twice, will not stay without being tied to a runner. He cowers if you even look at him, will not eat or drink while you are standing near.

He is so beautiful and so sad it breaks my heart. We have had him for a month and he has run away twice with neighbors finding him in the woods and bringing him home. We have loved him, fed him, let him in the house to ramble and become comfortable, taken him on walks to show him the property of 12 acres. He will not come when called by his name, will not walk to you even if you have his favorite food. He is not hostile, does not try to bite. He is just like a zombie dog as far as response to us, but all he wants to do is run away. Since we have him on a runner he continually runs in a big circle like the pony rides at the fair.

We had a female Aussie for 15 years and a male Border Collie for 21 years. Neither ever left the property, but were free to run and play. Both of them made every step with us outside and lived good lives here. What can we do to help this poor dog? He is pitiful.

By kathyjune


RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Poor dog, lots and lots of patience and reinforcement needed here. I'd sit down and hand feed the dog to help it get used to your hand not being a weapon against it since it's a gentle and non-biting dog. The circular running is a habit caused from being confined to limited area of space. Have you thought of getting the Dog Whisperer CDs and learning his techniques to helping dogs with problems of abuse and the habits you would like to encourage to break?

Sounds like your dog is stressed and its mind is locked into a pattern it doesn't know how to stop. Try and speak with several professionals who deal with dog issues like this and try their advice. It's going to take awhile; you've only had the dog a month; it needs more time and if you continue to show patience and kindness, the dog should start to come around a little more, but it could take up to a year depending on how much the habits are instilled in the dog.

It's a dog, not a pup and he may have some psychological damage that may never heal to an extent. What about contacting pet adoption centers and learn what they do to help mistreated dogs overcome obstacles before they are adopted out? You could try out their methods on your dog and hopefully with continuity get results your dog needs to make him happier. (06/02/2010)

By Lorelei

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Here's a link I researched that might help you understand the running away problem and how to deal with it. Also, the idea of using a tether ball (rope on ball) and tie to a tree branch for the dog to play with will help provide more exercise to a hyper dog. Sounds like he needs more physical activity in his life since the Aussie is a working class dog from other websites I've viewed. (06/02/2010)

By Lorelei

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Try getting him a playmate, like another puppy. (06/03/2010)

By JoAnn517

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

This could take up to a year to get him acclimated. It's a gradual process. I speak from experience. (06/04/2010)

By cookwie

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

First of all, I believe this is a very intelligent breed, a working dog, and is known for running. If not kept occupied and stimulated, they may be more likely to take off than other breeds. Then you have the abuse problem on top of it. Possibly someone owned this dog who did not understand their special needs and requirements, and tried to beat the discipline into him.

99% of problem dogs can be fixed. Time and consistent training and love will work. They need to learn trust again, and to know what the rules are. I would consult a professional trainer for advice, maybe take a beginner's class on working with dogs with issues. You can do this. I feel this dog is lucky to be with someone who is compassionate and willing to give him a chance to be the best dog he can be. Good luck to you! (06/04/2010)

By jmp24

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

I forgot to mention that I have a dog who was abused, a small breed, possible Boston/Terrier/Chihuahua mix. He also was not housebroken, so I assumed that the reason for abusing him was ignorance on housebreaking on the part of his previous owner. It took a while. but today he is a sweet and happy little guy. He still has some issues, but nothing that can't be handled. (06/04/2010)

By jmp24

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

I rescued Skittles a female Beagle from my vet when she was 6 years old. She was going to be put down the next day. She is 15 yrs old now. She must have been severely abused by a guy because when I would just talk to her she would cower and shake. Please be patient with your dog because it will come around. It needs a lot of love, love, and more love. I taught Skittles to hunt and to this day she will not let me out of her sight. She still has some issues, like walking by me when I let her in the house, but I stand behind the door and she will come in. (06/04/2010)

By 4saml

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

I have a little tri-colour Silky Terrier. He was given to me, when he was 3 years old. He was also abused. He had no fur on his lower back near his tail. Someone had tipped a chemical on him to kill flees and it burnt the fur off. I have had him for 5 years now. I would suggest you change the dogs name, from the previous owner.

I have given my little dog lots off attention. I have walked him, bathed him, I talk to him. He has his Smacko's for a treat. Persevere with your little fellow, like I have done. I couldn't even pat him, he would shake all over. Now he just trusts me so much. The vet said I have done a marvelous job with him. The vet said through my persevering it has taken the scar away from him. He is a different dog. Remember most importantly treat him as one of the family. It will pay off. Good luck. Hope this helps you. (06/07/2010)

By shellmax

Archive: Helping an Abused Dog

I just got a Golden Retriever from an owner who rescued him from his previous abuser. He is a very well behaved dog and has done absolutely no wrong. My only issue is that he's very timid and shy (not in an aggressive manner). He doesn't cower when we pet him or anything like that. He is just very isolated. He lies on the couch and sleeps. That's it.

I feel completely heartbroken for him and want to do whatever I can to make him a happy dog. The person I got him from had him for 2 years and said that he has been very introverted the whole time. I will love him and will keep him even if we can't get him to come out of his shell, but I just want to do what I can to make him a happy dog again.

By Krysta from Springfield, OH


RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Time will likely be the main help, I think he just needs to get to know and trust you. He may have had experience with someone who's temper spiked rapidly and he may be used to trying to keep under the "radar." If for just a few weeks the household can be extra calm I think he might have time to figure out "these people aren't going to turn on me."

We took in a stray cat about 10 years ago and still have her, she was very timid and totally cowered. I talked to her a lot, very quietly in a whisper along the lines of baby talk, repeating many of the same phrases often telling her "you da Mama's girl." I probably overdid it because Gray girl is pretty much grafted to me at this point. Her absolute favorite sleeping spot is my neck! Your tone of voice will help get this dog to trust you. I am just so glad to hear the dog is out of an abusive situation, and I'm betting that in no time at all your dog will be a full fledged family member. Best wishes. (07/16/2010)

By Grammy007

Archive: Helping an Abused Dog

About 2 months ago I had, I guess you can say, rescued an American Pit Bull Terrier. He has had no human contact, and he's never been shown any love. The most human contact he has gotten was when he was beaten by his previous owner.

I've been trying to show him nothing but love. At first when I would pet him he would be so scared he would pee all over himself. Just talking about it makes me wanna cry. His whole life, or 9 months, he had been locked away in a pen with other dogs and never shown any love or anything. That's how he thinks it is supposed to be. He still won't come to me unless I have his leash on him, it still scares him for me to pet him. I know that it takes time, but any suggestions are very welcome and greatly appreciated. So if you have any ideas please let me know.

By Amber from Boswell, OK


RE: Helping an Abused Dog

UGH! That makes me angry to hear that. I'll bet he was going to be used in a fight ring! Anyway, try contacting a pit-bull rescue and I would hope they would have some advice for you. Don't stop showing him love and affection! He will surprise you one day! I was told to "never give up" with a horse I own, I haven't and he has turned out awesome! He was also abused. (09/14/2010)

By horseygal

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Oh my. Poor Fella.

If he will cooperate, try feeding him from your hands. Don't put food in his dish until after you have fed him most of it from your hands. Speak softly to him as you're feeding him, and if he'll allow it, stroke him face, the way his mother would be doing (licking his face and washing him) if she were nursing him. When you speak to him, always tell him what a good boy he is. Dogs and cats understand your tone of voice better than they do what you're saying.

Sounds like he's been hurt badly enough that it's going to take a good while to reverse the damage.

I wish you and the dog the best of luck, Amber. It's very good of you to care and to work with him. Don't give up. It's going to take a while.

Songwriter (09/15/2010)

By Songwritter

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

I would love to give the previous owner a beating. It is so horrible when people abuse animals. I would talk to your vet. that is the person who can best advise you in your area. Also bless you for being such a loving pet parent. I think that if you are patient and keep showing the love, evidently he will come around. He may always be a nervous dog though. Time and lots of quiet love will conquer, I bet! Good luck to the both of you. Sending a big hug to you both. (09/15/2010)

By virginiag

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Amber, No real advice except to keep loving the dog and don't give up. Whatever was done to that puppy should now be done to the previous owner! Mainly wanted to wish you good luck. Banty (09/15/2010)

By banty

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Several years ago, we fostered a dog for the Humane Society that had been found living on a construction site. A HS volunteer happened to be driving by the site and saw workmen hitting the 6 month old dog with bricks and 2x4s. When we brought her home, she was terrified of everyone and everything. We put her in a crate but left the door open when we were home. The crate gave her the security of having a place where she could be alone, but th freedom to come out when she wanted. For six days she sat and stared at the solid wall of the crate and only came out when we took her outside on a leash. I made a point of never reaching for her over-handed. I always held my hand palm-up,and rubbed under her neck so she could see my hand. I talked quietly to her and moved slowly around her.

After 6 days of sitting in her crate, she began to come out, first lying in front of the crate and then moving farther away. It took two months for her to come to me because she wanted to do it, and wanted to interact with me. Before that time, I could pet her, but I had to go to her. We adopted Tessa after fostering for three months and are now fast friends. My older dog has taught her how to be a dog; she was so isolated on the site and alone, she had no idea how to be a dog! We did have some problems with her doing "emotional" chewing, but once we put the decorative pillows away, that improved. Good luck! By the way, Tessa is the beautiful golden retriever / chow mix in the attached photo. Debra from Charlotte, NC (09/16/2010)

By debra.wilhoit

<img src="" width="400" height="300" alt="RE: Helping an Abused Dog" />

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

6 months ago, I adopted a half pit, too. In the beginning I was obsessed, but I found that when I just ignored her, I found her coming up to me. You want her to just see that she is with humans who aren't hurting her, and ignore her after feeding her her dinner, etc, etc. If she comes up to you, congratulate her by giving her a treat, then turn back to whatever you're doing. If she starts getting more reproachful, give her a little pat, and if she wants more after an hour, give her more attention and more treats. Slowly, she'll adjust to this new situation, that humans aren't always in it to get her. Good luck!
Attached is a picture of my dog, right now there is another person in the house, so she is a bit scared, but checking him out.
Zora (10/16/2010)

By zoraborealis99

<img src="" width="400" height="300" alt="RE: Helping an Abused Dog" />

Archive: Helping an Abused Dog

My husband and I adopted a dog from a woman on Craigslist. She said that she couldn't feed him anymore and that she saved him from abusive drug addicts. Now that we have him home (which is a large house with a backyard), he is very timid. He's great on walks and has a great time.

Most of the time he's sweet and comes up to you when you call him, but he sometimes will (out of nowhere) be very skittish. He'll cower and pee, run away and whimper. It's very strange because most of the time he's fine. It's very frustrating. Especially since he knows how to use the doggy door, but refuses if he knows we're home. He'd rather be cold than come in on his own (not that we lock him out).

I would appreciate some advice on how to handle, cope, reassure, anything would be nice. At this point we're just dumbfounded on his mood swings.

By TJ from Fresno, CA


RE: Helping an Abused Dog

My husband and I adopted a beautiful Chihuahua a year ago. The woman who had her said she was giving the dog away because her husband was abusive and the dog would hide when her husband came in the home. She said they had left the dog for two days in the house and when they came home, her husband shouted at the dog for peeing on the floor. And after that the dog would hide all the time if he was in the home. I told her she needed to get rid of her husband, not her dog.

I am telling you though this dog is the best dog in the world. We treat her like she is the most precious creature on earth. She has never reacted negatively to us ever. We have a male Chihuahua she has bonded with and we plan to never separate them from each other.
We use crates for them also and yes they do love their own space. (12/08/2010)

By Bookeesmom

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

I wish you so much luck and thank you for taking in this poor abused dog. Chances are that his "mood swings" are triggered by a memory of abuse, for example, maybe he can become frightened of the doggie door as he remembers being hurt in the past by the abusive first owner for doing just that, using the doggie door when the abusive addict wasn't in the mood to see the dog and decided to beat him instead.

Abused animals have such huge, horrid, histories that they can't share with us, verbally. I so wish they could talk to us like they did to Dr. Dolittle.

Just love him, reinforce positive behavior with lots of happy scratches and kisses. Be stern, but kind and nonthreatening, when the fur guy messes up. (Cowering then peeing.) He will learn to understand the difference between healthy discipline and unacceptable abuse. Your dog just needs to learn to trust again. With your love and patience, he will do just that. I'm sure it is frustrating, but consistent kindnesses will win in the end. Good luck, and tummy scratches galore for your dog! Seriously, go find him and do so right now, just 'cuz! :-) (12/08/2010)

By KansasCindy

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

9 years ago I took in an abused dog, not knowing that he had a rough background at all. He is now 13 years old and just wonderful! First, you need to build trust between you and the dog, see that was very easy for me because mine took to me easily. My dog was still a bit leery about my hubby, but in time got over it.

If he is cowering down, of course, something is scaring him. Was it a loud noise, maybe you moved too fast, or whatever, try to figure out what is making him feel uncomfortable, and after you have built that trust you can help him through these moments. Calmly talk to him, pet him, and be gentle. If you are upset he will know and that will make him feel edgy. I know it is frustrating, but keep trying to figure out what is bothering him. As for using the doggy door he may feel like he is not allowed to. Try to encourage him with treats. Praise him when he uses it. The more positive attention he gets the more he will do that particular thing.

Most importantly. Hang in there. You seem to already have made progress and to think of what that poor thing has been through. You saved him! You gave him a second chance. Good luck. (12/09/2010)

By brenneman826

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

Maybe he would respond well to other dogs. Maybe you could seek out a friend with a dog his size and arrange play dates. Are there any dog parks nearby? (12/09/2010)

By bilbobaggins7

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

There is a website called that shows you how to knit, sew, or crochet blankets for dogs or cats that are in shelters, or who were strays or abused animals. It says they have a calming effect on these animals. Maybe one of these, or even a doggy bed or blanket would help him feel comforted.

I am making a Snuggle Tubbie for my kitty even though she is a happy cat just because I know she will like it. You might want to look at the patterns link for ideas of what your dog might like. If you don't knit, crochet, or sew, maybe someone you know does and would be happy to help you out caring for your special dog. (12/09/2010)

By SuzyQ82

RE: Helping an Abused Dog

There is so much good advice here! the only thing I could think to add would be to consider obedience or agility training. It is a great confidence builder for dogs. Other than that you are on the right track and I am sure time will take care of the rest. (12/10/2010)

By Lizzyanny

Pets Dogs AdoptingFebruary 21, 2011
More to Explore
ThriftyFun on Facebook ThriftyFun on Pinterest Enter a Contest Free Newsletters Ask a Question Share a Post
Related Guides
Dog Her with Puppies
Helping Your Dog Deliver Puppies
House Training an Abused Dog
House Training an Abused Dog
Helping Someone With Alzheimer's
Helping a Loved One with Alzheimer's
© 1997-2016 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Published by . Page generated on February 13, 2016 at 9:58:09 AM on in 2 seconds. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of ThriftyFun's Disclaimer and Privacy Policy. If you have any problems or suggestions feel free to Contact Us.
All ArticlesQuestionsAnswersArchives
NewestOldestMost HelpfulLeast HelpfulRelevance
Site MenuShare a PostContestsAsk a QuestionAbout ThriftyFun
BrowseAll By DateAll GuidesAll QuestionsAll VideosRecent FeedbackLonely Questions
CategoriesBetter LivingBudget & FinanceBusiness & LegalConsumer AdviceCraftsEducationEntertainmentFood & RecipesGarage SalesHealth & BeautyHolidays & PartiesHome & GardenMake Your OwnOrganizingParentingPetsTravel & RecreationWeddings