Rescue Puppy

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Pauline Stephenson, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. Pauline Stephenson New Member


    I have a rescue puppy now aged nearly 12 months. I have had her for six months and initially she had a lot of problems but she has gained in confidence very well all except for a couple of things

    One is that we live in a village where shooting takes place in the surrounding fields and when not shooting there are crow scarers going off every half an hour with four loud bangs.

    Trixie is a cross between a Corgi and a Sheltie and is absolutely terrified of the bangs and now refuses to go out. If we carry her bodily to go for a walk she shakes constantly and raises her paw in submission. I have purchased a CD with fireworks and gun shot noises on and tried to play these to her with me cuddling and reassuring her, but all that does is make her a nervous wreck in the house.

    Also when we first had her because she had been starved she would woof any food hungrily that was put in front of her, but now she refuses to eat the dry complete dog foods and will only eat meat and would rather starve than eat them, even if I leave her without any other food for a few hours!!!

    Help please

  2. Anneke Honored Member

    Hi and welcome here!

    How good that you have rescued a puppy!
    That fireworcd is a good start on getting her used to loud noises. But... stop the cuddling and reassuring. The only thing you are telling her by cuddling her, is that she is right to be scared! I know it goes against your instinct, but try not to do this.
    Instead, try to get her to think of something else. Start the cd on a very low level and try to get her to play. See if she is willing to eat while you play it. Her refusing food is a good indication of her stress level. If she doesn't play or eat, she is too stressed and you have to take a step back.
    I also think the pawraising, you discribe, is not a sign of submission. More likely it is a sign of intent of flight.
    When you take her out, ignore the shaking. She will have to get over it, but if you keep reasuring it, she will only keep doing it.
    Take her outside, put her on her own feet and coach her to take a few steps. Lure her with a treat or a toy she really loves! Throw a party when she does take a step, see if you can get her to take a treat, if not her reward can be to go back inside.
    Then take her out again, later, ask for a few steps more, throw a party again(lots of praise, treats, play, just go nuts:D)and go back inside.
    If you do feel she needs to be comforted, just sit down beside her, but don't touch her or talk to her. Just let her see that you are not afraid, so she doesn't have to be afraid.

    About the food... a dog doesnot need food to be at hand every minute of the day. I feed my dogs twice a day. If they don't finish there food in 15 minutes, i take it away and they will simply have to wait for the next meal time. I know it is hard to not feed your dog, but it does no harm to not feed her for a day. Then see if she will eat.
    Something else that can help, is to put her food in a little bag, you carrie around with you. Everytime she does something you want her to do, she will get a handfull of kibble. It is up to you when she gets something. It can be for just coming to look at you, or doing a sit, when asked. This way you will get her really focused on you. You can throw a handfull on the floor, so she will have to look for every little bit. Usually dogs find this a very fun game.

    I know others here will have more tips for you.
    Good luck on building her confidence!!
  3. Pauline Stephenson New Member

    Thank you so much for your tips, I will certainly try out the things you recommend and hopefully she will get over her problems
  4. Anneke Honored Member

    I hope it will work. I know what it is like to live with a dog that is afraid. My first dog was a rescue, about 4 months old when I got him. It took all his life to get him over his fear of people, but we managed to get him over all the other fears he had. But it takes a lot of work and there will be setbacks when something happens.
  5. Pauline Stephenson New Member

    Yes I am sure that she won't be cured overnight, she had a really bad start in life. she was found on the side of a busy road and the person that found her thought she was a fox cub because of her colouring. She was severely malnourished and covered in maggots and fleas, in fact her tail had been partly eaten by maggots, so as you can imagine she was a poor little thing when we got her. She was taken to an animal rescue place in Dublin and they nursed her back to health and she was then sent to England to another rescue place and then I took her at about six months old. When i first had her she would not leave my side and she trembled constantly, but happily she has gained so much confidence, she still follows me everywhere but she now loves my husband and sits on his lap and goes for walks with him without me. also when we went on holiday my friend whop has three dogs looked after her and she settled very well and loved mixing with the other dogs. She is good with people and loves my granschildren, it is just this wretched crow scarer and loud noises and traffic that she is terrified of. Thank you again for your help
  6. sara Moderator

    I dont have time to get into the fear thing with you right now, though the prev. advice is dead on.

    As to feeding, my dogs would eat sawdust if I put it in their bowls (exaggeration LOL) I dont even give my dogs 15, they get 5 minutes. I've dont this with every dog I bring into my house (even fosters) I cant leave food out, as I have lots of different shapes, sizes and allergies. A dog will not starve itself, it will eventually eat. If you give in, it'll be that much harder for you next time.

    I fast my dogs for a day or a half a day every couple of weeks it is good for their metabolism, helps keep them thin. But I also feed them a huge veriety. I have 5 different types of food, plus canned food, plus sardines, and eggs, and raw meat once in awhile. This has solved Ollie's sensitive tummy, and keeps them really interested in their meals.
  7. Pauline Stephenson New Member

  8. Pauline Stephenson New Member

    Thanks for that i have taken on board all that has been said about the feeding and will do as you suggest
  9. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Ditto on all the advice already given.
    Welcome to the academy and kudos for rescuing your adorable little one!
    Expanding on what has already been said....
    Play the CD at a veeerrry low volume at first, and only when good things are happening--eating time, training, playing with toys, etc. As she becomes 100% comfortable at this volume, the next time turn it up just a teeeeeeny bit higher. Gradually move up until it's normal volume and she is comfortable. The scary sounds become a sign that fun things are coming--whether it's food, playtime with toys, or a training session. Go at her pace--if she's uncomfortable, take a step back and make it easier.

    Do not coddle her. Two of my dogs are storm phobic, and one of them is really phobic of generally anything that is new or loud. The best thing you can do is just be there. If they are scared, do not call them to you, do not hold them and coo to them, just be there. If they want to come to you and need to be near you, that's fine, but do not encourage them to do so and do not reward them for doing so by petting, cooing, etc. Literally just be there and be comfortable with whatever is going on. She will look to you for how to react to these things. If you are nervous or coddling her, you're reinforcing the idea in her head that she has something to be scared of. Ignore her behavior, act like nothing is going on.
    "Wait, Mom acts like everything's okay, maybe it's not so bad...?"

    Phobias of any kind do take a lot of time and patience to get through, so don't expect immediate results. Just be patient and push through it day by day and she will eventually get there. :)

    Best of luck; she's adorable!
  10. Pauline Stephenson New Member

    Thanks for that advice, I will definitely do as you recommend although I must say that when she is scared I just want to gather her up in my arms and reassure her, so that is going to probably be harder on me than her, but I will do as you suggest.

    Thanks again everybody I really appreciate your time
  11. Anneke Honored Member

    I know what you mean! It is so hard to see your dog being scared. But it is really best, to act like nothing is wrong.;)
  12. sara Moderator

  13. Pauline Stephenson New Member

    Thanks a lot, I will see if they will ship one to the U.K.

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