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Rescued Dog is Afraid of Everything?

March 29, 2005

Scared Chihuahua against a white backgroundWe have adopted a problem dog from the local dog rescue who spent the first 18 months of his life locked in a barn of a puppy farm. He is of a beautiful nature but has not had any socialization and is a nervous wreck. He is scared to death of anything and everything and even has a problem going into the garden as he is terrified to leave the sanctuary of our kitchen. He is basically a dog with agoraphobia and we could do with advice on how to proceed with him. He is neutered and is two years old and otherwise very healthy.

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Margaret from Swansea UK

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By guet (Guest Post)
March 29, 20051 found this helpful
Best Answer

I agree. All he needs is a lot of love and patience. My dog came from an abusive situation and it took her a year to wag her tail and play with us. She was afraid for me to touch her when I first got her and still 3 years later is wary when I have any object in my hand even if it is a plastic bag or something silly. Food was a great way to get her to trust us. I just talked to her and petted her gently on her terms and spent a lot of time with her and gave her treats. We allowed her to have her own space at the top of the stairs where she felt safe. She actually took to my husband first and she started walking around with her tail up instead of tucked under. It was heartbreaking to see her so sad and her spirit broken. Then I got her to play ball a year after we got her and we were ecstatic. Now she is very sweet and loves for us to pet her, but hides behind me when around other people. Let him open up on his own time. I'm sure he is incredibly grateful to have a wonderful home now and will be a sweet and affectionate companion with time.

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By Susan in Oregon (Guest Post)
March 29, 20050 found this helpful
Best Answer

Hi
I am not a dog expert but I have had many abused animals over the years. Recently, I have adopted four dogs from a chow rescue. Two have come from puppy mills/farms. One is similar to what you have described with your dog. My experience with traumatized animals is that they need lots of time to heal and learn to trust. Food and hand feeding is a good way to build trust. To socialize, take him on short walks, very short to start with, and keep extending them until he becomes comfortable.

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This will take a long time because you only want to advance at the dog's pace (when the dog is ready). Go with him outside and spend time talking to him. Eventually, you will see a changed animal, but it takes lots of loving time.

I wish you the best and the world needs more loving people like you to take in abused/traumatized animals. He will learn to love you and you will not find a more devoted pet.

Susan in Oregon, USA

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March 29, 20050 found this helpful
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Find your local health food or organic store and get something called Rescue Remedy. I would also purchase from the same line (BACH Flower) Aspen and Mimulus.

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You can add all these to his water or give directly by mouth. You also might want to try some Valerian Root.

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By (Guest Post)
March 29, 20050 found this helpful
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Do a web search on "clicker training" for dogs. This method is used very successfully to rahabilitate traumetized horses. I am sure there is someone doing it with dogs too. It is totally based on positive reinforcement and anyone can do it.

Rene

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March 29, 20050 found this helpful
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Most scared dogs don't like to be touched and even some normal happy hyper dogs too. Wait till they are just about to go to sleep and very quietly, gently, sweetly caress them, lightly stroking them all over.

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It's relaxing for them & very bonding. ( this works with people too :)

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

August 28, 2019

I just adopted a 4 yr old Beagle, Sadie. I was told she is skittish, but didn't expect it to be this extreme. She is house broken and crate trained. However she is absolutely terrified of going outside. She's only gone potty twice in 3 days. She doesn't want to eat, drink, or anything.

Loud noises, fast movements, everything is so scary to her. She is very slowly warming up to me because I'm with her everyday. She is so sweet and I already love her so much, I just need advice on ways to get her over her fears.

My Beagle is Terrified of Everything - chubby Beagle on gray couch
 

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
August 28, 20190 found this helpful

Awwww!!! She looks like my sister dog, Suzy Q!! Suzy had the same issues when she came to our family.

This is our gal:

www.thriftyfun.com/Suzy-Beagle-Mix.html

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She had a very rough start in life and was also a basket case when we first got her. Our vet (they are truly amazing) put her on Prozac until she assimilated. She was on it (very low dose after the first few weeks) for about a year (give or take).

She is very mellow now!! A total couch potato. You would never know how crazed she was at first by looking at her now.

Post back with an update!! Prayers for your sweet gal!!

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 140 Posts
August 28, 20190 found this helpful

Contact your vet,they can give your beagle medication that can help her through these trying times!She seems like she has been through a lot. Now that she has you(New loving parent) she will see the love you have in seeing that she gets better.Good Luck!

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August 28, 20190 found this helpful

Whether she is a shelter dog or purchased from a breeder, change can be extremely stressful on dogs that are by nature very sensitive. There's no substitute for being patient and attentive when you sense she becoming overwhelmed. You don't want to create an environment like an infant that wakes up at the simplest sound. Don't over stimulate her, however, she can't learn to self soothe without slow exposure where she feels safe.

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She's stunning and she will get there. Remember, no substitute for patience. (This is my Hardy, he was horribly abused and being held in protective custody. It was a long, heartbreaking situation but he is now a happy funny little guy and our joy.

 
 
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August 28, 20190 found this helpful

My Lab, Bella, was the exact same way when I first adopted her. She was so frightened the first day I brought her home that she vomited when I dropped something and it made a loud noise. She was scared of absolutely everything: brooms, hairdryers, fans, any loud noise, anything resembling a stick, etc. This came from being in an abusive home before I was able to save her.

Unfortunately, it sounds like your baby was in the same situation. If this is the case, Shes scared because someone was mean to her and shes unsure of you just yet and doesnt know if she is going to continue to receive the same treatment. It takes ALOT of time and patience. Slowly work with her. Sit or lay on the floor with treats and lay your hand out for her to sniff and slowly let her come to you on her own timing, make slow movements with her while doing this and try loving on her. Do this once or twice a day if you can. She will start to see that you mean no harm. Put something of yours like a T-shirt that hasnt been washed in her bed. She needs to get used to your scent and this will help. In the meantime, you may want to visit your vet and discuss medication options. She may benefit from an anti-anxiety medication. Doesnt mean she has to take them foreverjust to help her calm down and overcome her fear.

If you do not want to medicate your dog, I would suggest trying a Thunder Jacket or something of the sort and just having her wear it as much as possible. You can get them at all pet stores, Amazon, etc.

You can also try a more natural approach to medicine and use Bachs rescue remedy. You can order this online. There are different forms of it so you can give it to her however you feel is best.

It takes time, it takes patience, but dont give up! The dog is lucky to have you and she will realize it soon enough! I hope your new journey gets easier and I hope she starts warming up to you more and more. Congrats on your new pup and enjoy the ride!

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 107 Posts
August 29, 20190 found this helpful

I have a beagle I adopted from a shelter. It has been a slow process helping her overcome her fears. The best advice I can give is be patient, show her lots of love and keep her environment as calm as possible. I know different tactics work for different dogs but I found that soothing music has a calming effect on all the "fearful" dogs I've rescued over the years. After a few years of living in a loving home our beagle is a happy dog. Her fear of sudden moments and loud noises is gone. Her fear of thunderstorms still lingers, but that may be a fear that never completely goes away. Keep loving your dog. Don't give up on her.

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August 29, 20190 found this helpful

I think she is just adjusting to her new home and family. Change is scary for dogs. Your vet can give you something for anxiety if needed. Make sure she has her own bed or "space". A regular routine helps too, so she knows what to expect. She'll warm up to you. It just takes time.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
August 29, 20190 found this helpful

It appears the dog has had a rough start and this is so sad. I would suggest taking her for walks really early in the morning or really late at night when there aren't so many people on the road or cars to scare her. When you feed her you might need to sit there with her and pet her to let her know it is OK to eat and not to be scared. You can also try giving her water from a bottle so that she does not get dehydrated. Other than this you will need to take her to the vet and ask if he can give her some types of pills to calm her down so she isn't so nervous.

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