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From: Callie (
Subject:         oh gosh -- negative begets negative
Date: March 10, 2013 at 5:52 pm PST

In Reply to: HELP with an adopted abused dog!!! posted by Angela Gardner on March 7, 2013 at 8:59 pm:

"punishment" just doesn't work. You can make yourself understood other ways.

This dog will need to be managed carefully -- FOREVER. It takes a very long time to diminish that sort of fear.

In honesty -- you have to **Prevent** problems -- in other words, just don't ALLOW anyone to get in her face. Children ... adults ... anyone must undnerstand this is NOT a dog to play with that way.

Your husband will have to work very hard to undo what he has reinforced (that men are BAD). He needs to take on her total care. He needs to feed her EVERY time. Sit with her. Give her her kibble one piece at a time if need be.

Talking gently to her. Being her source of every *good* thing. Petting. Love. Affection. Food.

The last dog we had like that was a street stray we picked up -- she was SO fearful. But my husband used to lie down somewhat near her with a pocket full of treats **ON HIS BACK** (in dog-ese exposing your belly is a submissive posture - so he was telling her in her own language "I'm no threat to you".

He talked to her low and gentle all the time. He would just put pieces of kibble in various places near him one at a time so she had to creep increasingly closer to him to get them.

Never expect anything fast -- it may take weeks for her to allow him to actually touch her willingly.

I know that's difficult when you have 3 kids wanting to "play with the dog" but it will take a LONG LONG time before this dog can release her fear.

It's better with a dog like this that you crate her AWAY from people rather than allow someone to intrude on her space and frighten her. So someone comes over? She may need to go in a crate and be OFF-LIMITS.

Don't expect people to understand. DON'T TRUST **ANYONE** (that's how your nephew got bitten) -- you simply must prevent, at all costs, any further problems.

If you can't do this -- DON'T do it at all. See if you can rehome her somewhere she will not be around people at all. In other words -- don't try to do this and do it badly. She doesn't need more trauma. And you don't need a lawsuit.

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