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From: Callie (
Subject:         Re: Abused, starved, terrified dog -- Time, patience & love
Date: November 12, 2012 at 10:40 pm PST

In Reply to: Abused, starved, terrified dog will NOT leave his crate! posted by Jessica on November 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm:

Time Time Time Time Time

I hope the rescue doesn't think they will place this dog *soon* -- it will take time.

Don't commiserate with him -- keep it bright and light "Let's go potty" --

You may want to email me --
callie at critturs dog com

(no spaces & use the punctuation and notice critturs has a "u" in it)

Spend lots of time "near" the crate chilling out with this dog. Lie down -- be non-threatening (let him see you eye-to-eye) with you relaxed either watching TV or reading or whatever.

don't make huge demands on him -- if he will take treats from you do this EASY game - start while he's in the crate, and graduate to him 'sitting' in front of you eventually.

Have purely HEAVENLY TREASTS in your hand. Say his name and the *instant* his eyes flick to you, toss him the treat. That's all - just eye contact. Eventually see if he will take the treat from your fingers thru the bars, and then thru the opening.

You'll find soon he will investigate when he finds out no one is going to beat on him.

WATCH this dog -- watch what he reacts to, what words produce fear & trembling (and there WILL be some).

You may find the most inoccuous words trigger fear. I knew of a dog once TERRIFIED of the words "Good dog" -- because obviously instead of being told they were a "good dog" there were beatings administered to the words "You WILL BE A GOOD DOG or I will know why -- you WILL BE GOOD!!" (punctuated with "whack, whack, whack" with a hand or something to hit with.

Some dogs may trigger on the word "No" ... others simply think "no" is their name. *sigh*

But essentially you want their name to be MUSIC on your tongue. Just their name and a quick glance to you *and TREAT*. (break out the good stuff for this -- bits of steak or hot dog or cheese - something truly yummy).

As soon as this dog ventures out of the crate (and it will, watch how it interacts with its surroundings.

Loud noises?
Tall men?
Things like doorways, particular rooms, and even specific things like metal bowls vs. a plate, or plastic.

Will the dog poop/pee on leash? Or are they terrified to elminate in front of you? (That's really common especially if house-training was a severe issue -- some dogs MUST have a long leash so they can 'hide' to pee/poop because every time they elminated in front of a human they got beaten.

We took a dog once who had been SO abused - I didn't think I'd ever get her trust.

AFter a while we were able to piece quite a story together. I picked her up literally off the street on "leap day" in 2000. Oh my my ...

"doorways" were EVIL. completely!! It was obvious that someone had played a "game" -- as soon as she would try to walk thru a doorway SOMEONE was waiting on the other side to jump out at her and hurt her. EVERY doorway was approached with extreme fear. She would try to peer around the corner to see what was waiting on the other side.

Any sharp noise terrified her -- she would literally JUMP a foot at any sharp sound. One night my husband poured a new bag of kibble into a big air-tight container we had. She jumped SO hard -- literally she lept about 10 feet away in one jump and headed for the bathroom so fast you looked for the jet trail.

In the car it was even worse -- I was taking her to the vet for a check up and heaven help me, I hit a reflector on the white line at the side of the road (I'm in Florida -- they have them on all the roads). It makes a "click" as you drive over them.

O ... M ... G ... she was TERRIFIED. She'd literally leap into the air on the seat trying to get away.

Finally, my husband and I decided to try to desensitize her for car rides. My husband had spent two weeks on his back in her vicinity and is the soft-est spoken man you could meet.

I drove - he sat on the passenger side talking to her. I drove all over -- I went over pot holes and reflectors -- ANYTHING that would make a noise.

David just kept repeating in a soft voice stroking her neck and behind her ears "See -- this is going to make a noise ... bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, BUMP .. see that wasn't so bad! Here's some more bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, and BUMP ... GOOD girl!!

He just kept repeating that phrase bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, -- and it became like a mantra for her. Those words came to mean "I'm safe".

Did we ever place her? Yes -- in one of the best placements I ever made, in fact.

It took me 3 months to even begin to think she might venture to "adoption day". I put a little sign on her crate indicating her name, and that she'd been quite badly abused but that she was doing much better, but would need a patient, quiet home that would help build her.

I was approached after a bit by a woman asking more about her and I told her the above. Lo and behold - -the woman was herself a survivor of spousal abuse.

The woman adopted her "so we can help each other get better". It was marvelous -- we kept track of her for a long time and they did exactly that.

Once you identify specific areas that are huge challenges, let me know and I'll try and help you.

But give this time -- just don't commiserate with her -- don't say "Oh I'm so sorry I have to do this" -- no, be positive. "Let's go potty -- there, that's better!! Here we go!"

Let her drag a leash for as long as it takes for her to feel 100000% comfortable. See with a leash you don't have to crawl under nor manhandle her in a dark corner (you could get bitten and it will make her more scared).

You likely will want to switch her to a harness rather than a collar because with a harness you can pull her forward without hurting her neck. In fact, an "Easy Walk" harness will likely be perfect for her. The D-ring is on the front.

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