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Help with 4 year-old abused dog

1596 Views 15 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  RonE
Hello! I have had my girl, Bella, for 4 years now. I got her when she was 4 months old.
While she has come so far from the timid, shy dog that would not let anyone touch her; she still does not trust me or anyone fully. She still cowers when approached, or if one of the other dogs are being disciplined, or when I offer her food...etc, etc.
She constantly(and I am not exaggerating the constantly) wants attention. If one of my other dogs is getting attention, she pushes her way into the mix. She will paw me (which hurts badly) if she is not getting attention.
I do not hit, scream, kick, or in any other way abuse or neglect any of them.
I do not know what else to do to help her become more confident or to get her to understand that she is safe with me. She does listen to commands, gets along with my other dogs, not strange dogs though. She does not take to strangers so she has not been socialized alot. She can be unpredictable at times. There have been 3 people, besides me, that she has taken to almost immediately in the 4 years I have had her.
Any help would be appreciated.
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Unfortunately, I am not a young person and have a few health issues that prevent that. I do not believe she would do well under those conditions. I appreciate the help though!!
What mental stimulation do you do with her? Training? Enrichment toys such as Kongs and other out food dispenser toys?

Scentwork -, hide a treat or a toy and encourage her to Find It -, a very versatile game which can be played just about anywhere. Start off with one room and work your way up so that you're playing it on walks, too. As she learns with treats, switch up to things like key, socks, gloves, the paper - etc.

"It's Yer Choice" by Susan Garratt
Sit in front of your dog with a handful of treats. When the dog leans in to grab them, close your fist. The dog will likely nudge and paw at your fist to get the treats, but eventually she should lean back - that's what you're waiting for. Open your fist. If she leans in again, close it. When she leans back, open the first and give her a treat.

A similar game is one I'm currently teaching my dogs: The Bucket Game by Chirag Patel. This one puts the dog in charge.

Place treats in a bucket big enough for the dog. (I'm actually using a mug, but the premise is the same). Put the bucket to one side. When the dog looks at the bucket, feed a treat from it. Let the dog look away, walk away, take a break/get a drink, or end the game by lying on her bed or leaving the room. As you will see from this link, you can then use this game to move on to other areas, such as the ear check/clean as demonstrated:

A stuffed Kong will give you both a bit of time out.

Look up Kikopup on YouTube. Especially her Capturing Calmness video.

Hope that helps. :)
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I am fully aware of how to socialize and build confidence. She came to me a broken mess. She has made so many positive changes. Socializing her has been a struggle. I appreciate the context of your remark, I am also offended.
I'm sorry you're offended by some of the comments made.

We don't know how many puppies you've had, how many you've raised, your training/socialisation style, or whatever. We don't know how aware you are of genetics in puppies, or how much you know about stress and the effects of it on unborn puppies. We can only go by what you've told us.

You say this dog was abused. You literally put that in the title. What if the dog has never been abused, and it simply is a mix of stress in the mother and genetics? Put yourself in the breeder's and/or first owner's shoes, How offended - how hurt, would you be if you saw a thread like this, put two and two together, and realised someone was accusing you of animal abuse?

And that's the thing with forums. It's not just members who can read the threads. People for various reasons, can choose to read the thread (known as lurkers) without signing up. Sometimes it's to get a feel for the place before committing, sometimes they just enjoy reading and learning without getting involved themselves.

(To the Mods; I hope this isn't backseat modding. If so, please accept my sincere apologies).
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