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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
Nice to meet you all.
I was hoping for some recommendations on how to best behave with a very skittish dog. Let me start by telling you a bit about her- Lady is 8 years old, she was placed in a shelter a few weeks ago together with 5 other dogs. She wouldn’t go out of her cell and if she was forced she would just try to escape. She gave birth a couple of months ago (her puppies arrived at the shelter a few days before we took her) and she is in the heat for now.
We brought her two weeks ago- and the first 2 days were full of incidents that also frightened her but showed us what we can and can’t do. When we tried to walk her first time to the house she got out of the leash and we had to run after her and catch her, later we bought her a different collar that she won’t be able to escape but she wouldn’t walk. It took us 30 minutes to get to the street below and she would just try to hide, we tried it twice and every time I had to pick her up because we couldn’t otherwise make her walk with us back. There were some other similar incidents inside the house that made us learn that-
1. Treats: She is likes the hot dogs or peanut butter that we got here, but she will not ask for some- she will rarely go out of her crate when we hand give her.
2. Needs: She will do her needs inside the house- So we place pads that she understands that’s her place to do and does it. She had a crate which we must clean almost every day because she pees a lot inside the crate as she won’t go out regularly to do her needs and by the time she needs to- her crate is locked cause we are asleep. She also pooped several times inside. We tried to seduce her outside in the evening using hotdogs and then locking the crate until she poops- but she is smart, so she is more suspicious now and leaves the crate less. During the day her crate is usually open
3. Fear: She shakes a lot, she leaves her crate just to eat and do her needs. She walks a bit and even gets closer to my wife- but she is terrified of me, and it just gets worse. I can understand it- I was the one picking her up every time and she was panicked. I also picked her up to the vet a few days ago because we were worried about some medical conditions. That might explain why she is more scared at me, but she wouldn’t react at the first days the way she reacted today or yesterday- she used to walk more, even get close to me and one time even approached and took a snack from me and ran off. to explain the fear- if she leaves her- I and my wife don’t move a muscle that will scare her back.
4. Aggression- She is not aggressive at all (She doesn’t have a lot of teeth anyway)
5. No other pets- We have only her- while we saw at the vet how she got excited for 2 seconds when she saw dogs (first time we saw her raise her body and tale shaking. We are thinking about getting a playdate friendly dog that might cheer her up or even one of her puppies if possible but for now, she has kennel cough, so we can’t.
6. Attention – We try to ignore her most of the day so she will have her time- but we love her so much so we sometimes can’t help ourselves,
We would love to get some recommendations about how to behave with her, and I also have a few specific questions.
1. Treats- should we stay by the crate and give her treats? Or will it just cheer her to stay there? How would you encourage her to take walks inside the house?
2. Bed: We have a pillow for her- we tried to place it near her crate and yesterday she sat on that- should we continue? Is it good or just makes her more stressful to be comfortable away from her safe place? (we also have a bed- but as she is in heat and still does her needs in the crate sometimes- we use a pillow for now)
3. Any recommendation of how to make her feel safe would be gratefully accepted

Sorry for the long message- since we have Lady I’ve been trying to read and learn about the subject- but couldn’t find many examples that a dog isn’t crazy for snacks and won’t leave for walks.
Even though she is afraid of us- we love her so much and want her the know that.
Thank you for the help.
Lior
 

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It is good she has you and your wife. When I bring new dogs into my home, I set a small area up for them "baby gate", they do not get full roam of the house. Do feel smaller area feels safer and secure for them. They not have to make big decisions in an endless new area of unknown. I just leave them be and go on with my normal life in the house and they can watch never feeling confronted while taking in everything in the new home. Do understand you need to leash and take her out to go potty and will have to interact with her . Best to keep it on a schedule and work on the skills that you need exactly the same every day so they get use to how it works, they learn it is the same every day and they are ok every time. If she will not walk, you can just take her outside and stand with her, let her move as she is ready and even in time get a longer leash when she is moving more and more. For right now exercise is not important when your just getting started and she is not walking on a lead yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for answering her without chasing and half an hour for her to leave the house with us without dragging and also that was because my wife came from behind. When she freezes near us- no treat will help as well- she won't eat.
When outside and just standing- she stands and tries to hide, usually, once she found a place in the bushes- only picking her up will help.
About setting a small place, Would you recommend few times a day to just lock the crate when she is out and minimize her moving space in the house gently-lets assume, closing the kitchen while she is there and just sitting there with treats?
Another question about the small area, would you recommend to block her a part of the house so she will have a crate and a "garden" ?
 

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I block off a small area that has their crate water and food. I have used the kitchen area, the floors are tile easy to clean for accidents and the kitchen is easy to see the main room for all the activity going on. When I am in the kitchen I do what I need to do and ignore a scared dog. let them watch me as I work, and come and go not bother them. Many of the new dogs will not take a treat during the first weeks or even a full month.

I would leave the crate open and let them decided to come and go during the day from the crate. Time in your home and with you is the best you can do right now. My other house dogs were helpful for a fearful dog to connect with and to follow them. If you were to get another dog you should look for one that confident and outgoing to you to be a good dog for your fearful dog to follow and learn from your second dog.

If a dog will not walk on a lead, I try to stay out side with them just standing and even just bring a book and sit and read letting them do what is comfortable for them. Some times it just takes time for them to adjust. The lead thing and needing to go out and potty on a regular schedule is hard on you for having to handle them being frightened. Do the best that you can to make it positive, for them. Daily routines do set in ,, over time to be easier for you and them.
 
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