Helping an Abused Dog

Helping an Abused Dog

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


Recent AnswersAnswer this Question

By vicki hood 4 564 02/22/2011

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 vaclib.org 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 No

By Judy = Oklahoma 60 751 02/22/2011

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 No

By xintexas 28 395 02/22/2011

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 No

By Sherri 10 552 02/22/2011

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 No


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 No


Here are questions related to Helping an Abused Dog.

Question: Abused Dog Afraid of Men

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 interesting? Yes No

Most Recent Answer

By Tess Vowels 1 97 12/02/2011

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

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No


Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.

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.


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. (06/01/2009)

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

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 yahoo.com 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

I have adopted a 4 year old registered male Australian Shepherd. It is obvious that he has been abused.


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 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. So if you have any ideas please let me know.


Answer This Question