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Will lots of love and attention solve this?

1032 Views 12 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  luvntzus
I just brought home a newly neutered, 55-pound 1.5 year old Afghan-hound mix. When he's out in the open living room, he barely knows what to do with himself. He turns in circles or else glues himself to my side. He only lays down for some much needed sleep after neutering when he's in his crate. He probably spent most of his life in a cage.

When outside, everything scares him: cars, the train overhead (we live in a densely urban part of Chicago)... understandably so. He came from a shelter in the south and likely was some kind of farm or suburban dog before that.

Will lots of love and attention build his confidence? What else can I do? My heart is absolutely breaking when I see that he doesn't even know how to handle having a little free space. He's already piddled on the floor either because it's a submissive gesture (or maybe he had to go really bad -- he was WAY too scared to potty outside with all the noise).

I already love my big buddy and I just want him to feel happy and safe. Any advice is appreciated.
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Welcome to DF. I would 2nd the suggestion of the fearful dog site - it's very helpful. Two other resources I've also found helpful are "Cautious Canine" by Patricia McConnell and "Help for Your Fearful Dog" by Nicole Wilde.

The hardest part about having a dog who reacts to so many things is breaking it all down and deciding what to work on first. It is a long process but it does get better. My personal choice would be to work on the things that can make help you make life more livable for both of you the soonest, e.g. if there are a lot of people in your life and you need a dog that can handle being around them, make that the priority in your training. So make a list of all the things your dog seems to be afraid of, prioritize them, and start working on desensitizing him to them. The resources mentioned will give you step-by-step details on how to do that.

The good news? I've known several rescue dogs that acted just the way your pup does and within 6 months to a year you would not know there had ever been a problem. So there is much hope. Patience is the key.

Good luck & let us know how it's going in the fearful dog thread on this forum. And post pictures - I would love to see your pup!
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Wow!! He is gorgeous!!!

LMG & MrsJ -- you are not helping me avoid the temptation of getting another dog AT ALL! If I could talk my husband into it, we would get one right away. Oh well.
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