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From: ellie (
Subject:         that sadistic $(O%(^& should be reported
Date: May 4, 2009 at 10:51 am PST

In Reply to: Advice for Training frightened (abused?) dog posted by Georgi on May 3, 2009 at 9:06 am:

There is NO way such methods should EVER be used upon any living being. EVER.

Thank you, thank you for being willing to work with this little baby. Thank you for your concern and compassion for her.

Your baby will eventually settle some but you must understand this is going to be a long process and there will be many "backslides". There will be some things that will always be "triggers" for her. She's been traumatized and no joke. I do not believe for one blinkin' moment it was just a trap door.

I have worked with scared dogs and scared people for a long time now. I would recommend a behaviorist - not a trainer, a behaviorist. You need to get your veterinarian involved too; if she should need medication for a little while to help her stay calm enough to DO retraining, don't rule out using it. I'm not advocating "doping" her, but if she's too scared to be open to behavioral training, then you need to give her what help she needs. Your vet may be able to recommend a good behaviorist in your area. If not, contact the Animal Behavior Society for a referral - they are online.

A crate should never, never, never, never be used as punishment. Use it as her refuge, filled with all good things - treats and toys, and your presence nearby. Never shove her into it or be angry when you use it. And more, I do not hold with using punishment generally, certainly not in a case of galloping anxiety like this.

Be with her as much as you can and be the calm, consistent "steady rock" she needs to be able to count on. I'd advocate "nothing in life is free", to teach her HOW to please you, and give her a sense of being able to control outcomes. But there must also be much reliance on calm voice tone, calming touch, positive praise for every move to less-fearful behavior. Understand that much of her indoor urinating is fear-based. She is not just "not feeling like going outside". Consistent predictable routines are important. Likewise, gradual exposure to different people and places, with you being the reassuring calm presence, will help her function better.
Our friend Lorrie (who used to post here) had an utterly terrified Rottie. It took her nearly a year just to get him to come in the house with her. But with patient, careful persistence.....
Boone the Wonderdog got his Canine Good Citizenship. Yes. It can be done. But it will not be done in a week or a month. Please keep comin' back. We want to cheer you on and be with you in this process. ANd pet your good little girl from all of us!

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