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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.

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By ria from East Hartford, Ct

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February 22, 20110 found this helpful
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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.

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February 22, 20111 found this helpful
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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.

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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!

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February 22, 20110 found this helpful
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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

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February 22, 20110 found this helpful
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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.

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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.

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Anonymous
March 1, 20110 found this helpful

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.

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*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.

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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).

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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!

EXERCISE - DISCIPLINE - AFFECTION (in that order!)

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

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