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We just adopted a dog today (a "rescue dog"), but she is afraid of my dad...

Hello!

Today, we adopted a dog that we found on Petfinder. She is beautiful, sweet, and wonderful! We love her to pieces, and so does our other dog, Meg. :) She's fitting in beautifully and has been playing with us, exploring, licking our faces, and just having fun.

The only thing is, she's afraid of my dad. She's not mean to him, and wouldn't bite him, but she barks at him. She allows him to pet her though, and seems to be warming up a little, but how can we get them to be buddies? I can tell it's hurting my dad's feelings. :(

According to her foster mother, the last family who owned her had her for two years, since she was a puppy, and then they just decided to get rid of her because she "ate too much"--and then they replaced her with a smaller dog. She doesn't eat much at all! Anyway, she said that when she went to go get Savannah (that's her name), the guy didn't even have a collar on her. He grabbed her by the fur and dragged her out of the car. So we're thinking maybe that's why she's afraid of my dad? He would never hurt her, and we want her to know that.

Other than this issue, she's perfect for us! What can we do to make her more comfortable around my dad?

Thanks!

P.S. I'll be posting pics of her in the picture forum shortly for those who wish to see! ;)
EDIT: Pics are here: http://www.dogforums.com/8-dog-pictures-forum/46284-meet-savannah-rescue-dog.html
 

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Re: We just adopted a dog today (a "rescue dog"), but she is afraid of my dad...

What a pretty dog. I would guess that in her past there was a mean man and that is why she is scared of your dad.
 

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Re: We just adopted a dog today (a "rescue dog"), but she is afraid of my dad...

When we adopted Mabel she was so afraid of men that she'd "submissive pee" anytime I got within 5 feet of her or even looked at her from across the room. We used a lot of paper towels that first few weeks :D

But she eventually learned that she could trust me. Within about two months she became Daddy's Girl, much to my wife's chagrin. I think it helped that I usually took her outside (her favorite thing) and would mock-hunt with her (mine was mocking...her hunting was real; but I think she sensed that I enjoyed it as much as she did). I confess that I also put about a tbsp of my meal in her bowl...don't tell my wife :D

My theory is that some dogs are just naturally afraid of males. Males tend to be the larger and more violent of any species, so any animal will assume the male is more dangerous. It will go away as she gets to know him.
 

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Re: We just adopted a dog today (a "rescue dog"), but she is afraid of my dad...

Usually what works best is to have the person the dog is afraid of ignore the dog and just toss treats towards the dog as they walk around. When they are tossing the treats they shouldn't even look at the dog at first, just simply walk by and drop some treats to the dog as they are walking.
 

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Re: We just adopted a dog today (a "rescue dog"), but she is afraid of my dad...

My puppy also has similar problems, but with children. I have found that positive reinforcement works best. Whenever I know kids will be present I brings ttreats and give them to the child. When she acts appropriatley I ask the child to give her a treat, this way she understands that the way she is acting is good and that the child is okay. I found this to be so effective for her that even when we walk and a stranger passes (she used to be terrified of them too) she now just sits at the side of the path and waits for them to pass by without even being told, instead of getting scared and trying to slip her leash. Give it a try.
 

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Re: We just adopted a dog today (a "rescue dog"), but she is afraid of my dad...

Okay. I'm going through this right now with my rescue dog and my dad.

I have to say, be prepared for a long and slow rehabbing process. This is not something that can be forced or brought upon too soon because then the dog will just wind up getting more scared and no progress will be made.

If you can get him to totally ignore her that would be wonderful. I know it's not always possible - it isn't with my dad - but really try. Eye contact is a big thing, he should avoid staring at her. Body posture is EVERYTHING to a scared dog.

If he does ignore her after some time she'll gradually start to get better. At this point he can start casually dropping treats onto the floor for her. This will help to change the association from a big bad scary man to one who does nothing but dispense treats.

If he is unwilling to ignore her, at the very least he should NOT be correcting her barking, reaching down to try to pet her, or chasing her around the room. The fact that she is barking isn't necessarily a bad thing because she's clearly showing you how she feels.

Start an obedience class with her so you can get into a controlled environment where she can be socialized with people.

Good luck. I've had my dog 7 months and she is still only about 50/50 with my dad. IT just takes time and patience. If you go to my profile you can find threads I've made regarding my dog's issues. Lots of people have given me advice so you may find it helpful.
 

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Re: We just adopted a dog today (a "rescue dog"), but she is afraid of my dad...

Usually what works best is to have the person the dog is afraid of ignore the dog and just toss treats towards the dog as they walk around. When they are tossing the treats they shouldn't even look at the dog at first, just simply walk by and drop some treats to the dog as they are walking.
That should do it. Eventually your dog would see your dad as a wonderful person who keeps her happy with treats. Eventually she will probably come up to him looking for a treat.

The best way to for a woman to get a man is through his stomach and the best way for a dog to get a human male is through there stomach :D
 

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Re: We just adopted a dog today (a "rescue dog"), but she is afraid of my dad...

Thanks for the advice, everyone! She already seems to have shown some improvement. This morning, she went over to him and rubbed up against his legs with her tail wagging! :)
 
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