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Speculating about past abuse is only useful for the entertainment value of pondering the possibilities usually. If you actually did know her real detailed history, it might skew the thinking with emotion and do more harm than good in the long run.
Only if the trainer is emotional about it. Like any investigation, knowing more facts is better than less. A logical course of action can then be more easily planned.
 

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I don't know if I agree with that. I once had a dog who was petrified of storm drains. He would cross to the other side of the street on walks if he saw a storm drain and would always eye it suspiciously until it was out of site. Now, I couldn't care less if he likes storm drains or not and it was no big deal to just walk on the other side of the street, but if I wanted to desensitize him to storm drains would it have really mattered why he had that fear?
Was it just storm drains, or did it include gutters and manholes? Was it a specific type or any metal opening on the street? Was she afraid of it all the time or just when water was running down the drain? Knowing the underlying reason would speed up the solution.

In your case it probably was just storm drains. But, let's take a hypothetical situation where the previous owner had a pool with a waterfall and he fell in and slide down the waterfall and panicked to get out. Fast forward, a few years and you end up adopting this dog. Now you notice that this dog is fearful of gutters so you desensitize him to it. Then you notice he doesn't like hydrants either so you desensitize him to that as well. One day you walk by someone washing their car and the dog starts trying to get away from the man with the hose. Then you try to speculate maybe he doesn't like certain men. All the while, the real underlying reason why the dog doesn't like any of these things is really the sound of running water. So you can run your self ragged desensitizing him to all these specific objects when the underlying reason was something else. In this situation, I rather know because I would like to address the root of the problem.
 
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