Wags, Clicks & Treats From Susan & Nanette


hi all - after a too-long spell of doglessness, three weeks ago I adopted almost-4-year-old "Nanette" from an abusive situation. She's a black Lab and came to me with no vocabulary or anything to call her own except a too-tight collar and a rusty leash.

We are making great strides; best of all Nan and the real boss of the house, Atticus-the-cat-with-Cattitude, are bonding.

Nanette is afraid of a lot, especially men, and she was apparently the "alpha" of a pack of 20. We are taking things slowly and of course, positively.

Doggie school starts on the 15th. Unfortunately, she needs to be spayed - she was used to make "Doodles" - that will happen on the 16th.

I found the forum while searching for how to help her stop fear-barking. I work from home (mostly) and need to have her quiet during the day.

Too funny - what I found is exactly how I taught my former Lab the same thing - many years ago:)

Nice to be "home" again, and thanks for reading this far!
Susan, Nanette & Atticus


Honored Member
Welcome!!! It's great that you decided to rescue a dog in need!!! I'm sure you are giving Nanette an excellent home.:) We would love to see some photos of Nanette!!!!


Honored Member
Welcome and thank you for rescuing Nanette,love her name:love:. It sounds like you're already making great strides with her.

With her fear of men, maybe have a man (husband, boyfriend, brother) someone you totally trust, just throw her treats, say nothing and not try to pet her, but just throw lovely yummy treats gentle near her and maybe just 'sit' near her, being still and calm.

Had a giggle at your cat with cattitude, he sounds priceless, so glad they're making friends.:giggle:


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2012 Nanette! 026.JPG2012 Nanette! 034.JPG2012 Nanette! 058.JPG Thanks to all for the warm welcome! I tried several times to upload a picture for my "avatar" but must be beyond my technical proficiency!

Thanks for the idea, Mary. I read a similar one somewhere recently - except to have the male walk away after throwing the treat. I actually had an opp'y to ask a stranger to help me with that the other day!!!

Atticus Catticus was also a rescue; he's been with me for almost 12 years and is about 14.

I previously adopted an 8-year-old yellow Lab fellow from Senior Canine Rescue Society.

While working as a freelancer I wrote an article about the advantages of adopting an oldster for the Washington Post. You can read it here:


Let me try some pix ... her first day here. Her first toy.
. 2012 Nanette! 026.JPG2012 Nanette! 034.JPG2012 Nanette! 058.JPG

It's great to be here! I will only be able to check in periodically; I work tooooo many hours (but 95% from home, thank Dog!) But that's what brought me to the site; to get help w/her fear-barking. It's already helping.

Susan, Nan & Atti


PS! I forgot to mention ... I had a dream this year that a dog named Nan would come into my life. Then I read the Susan Orlean book on Rin Tin Tin, and Nanette was Rinty's wife :) I always loved the song "Tea for Two," which is from the musical "No, No, Nanette," which came out in revival in the early 70s - which I also loved :) I love the strength and sassiness of the name Nanette, the French diminutive of Ann, and that's what I want to impart to my girl. :)


Honored Member
LOVE the pictures, she's beautiful:love:

I read your article with a tear in my eye (pardon any typos they're still there) as I too adopted an older dog Jacques, a German Shepherd, he had had a terrible start to life he was near death when I adopted him,and it took two years to get him trained. Never once though did he show aggression towards humans, and after what he had suffered at their hands it wouldn't have been a surprise if he had, or other dogs. His only 'problem' was he was a bit over the top with love and excitement, thought the entire world, including doggy school, was one HUGE playground. We had ten glorious years together, many, many happy, funny memories and so much love. I'd adopt an older dog again in a heart beat! He went on to do obedience demonstrations, the first LOL was a bit comedic, make videos and helped a lady over come her fear of German Shepherds. His mission in life was to show everyone that a bad start doesn't mean you have to stop living or loving. And the bond you spoke off, yes it happens IMMEDIATELY with an older dog!


Honored Member
Welcome! So happy to read about you and Nanette (and Atticus, of course!) :D. Will read your article later, as I just stopped in briefly before leaving for work. Am so happy sweet Nanette is now with you.

I attended a Feisty Fido class several years ago with my fear-aggressive girl (dogs tho, not people) -- altho a couple dogs in the class had people issues. What they worked on with those dogs was this: they actually had our trainer's husband come in and sit in a chair, totally still, looking up, down, away, anywhere but at the dog. Treats were placed near his shoes, maybe a foot from them - near, but not toooo close. Dog was brought in on a leash, and allowed to take all the time it needed til it finally relaxed enough to take the treats (never any pulling on the leash tho - but the leash gave security). Next round, treats were put a bit closer to man's shoes. Dog brought in again - and again, allowed to do whatever, sniff, look around (all deflection tactics), until relaxed enough to take treats. Next, treats were placed on the toes of his shoes, he looked up, away, anywhere but at the dog. The dog was brought in on a leash, allowed to approach on their own time, sniff, and you bet eventually (when the fear subsided), they took the treats (and of course, they were VERY high value - chicken, hot dogs, beef, tripe, etc). Did this a few times, then ante was upped. Treats placed on his knees also (in addition to toes of his shoes). Again, he looked anywhere but at the dog, staying perfectly still. Dog brought in on a leash - allowed to do same thing, and take all the time it needed, til it relaxed enough to take the treats (but it went much faster). With enough time and work, dog was finally taking treats out of his hand - you get the idea. This needs to be repeated with as many different volunteers as possible, as often as possible. Sad that Nannette has this association - but I know with you as her biggest fan and cheerleader, she'll overcome it, and find out what life has to offer.

Mary also gave good advice above - having any man just toss treats to her, not asking anything of her, is perfect. Don't try to have them hand-feed her treats - that's too much for now. Just tossing in her direction, with no eye contact, no talking, no other interaction for now, is all she needs. Just associating good things coming from men over time will help change her mind. If you can, set up trips to someplace like Petco (or your local feed/supply store), and ask someone to work with you inside -- go in, set it up, hand them a few pieces of chicken or hot dog, then go to the car, get your girl, walk in, and let them toss without looking at her. Ask a male neighbor to do the same, walk down the street, he passes, and tosses some chicken as you pass by, no words spoken. Keep that up - she's going to start looking for men (kind of like we would start looking for whoever it is that keeps tossing brownies at us :LOL:).

Rescues are the best, aren't they? So many of us have rescues, and they'll repay you with their huge hearts in ways that are endless and boundless. :love: Please do drop in whenever you can and give us updates, there's nothing like hearing about improvement, esp in a dog like Nannette, to make a day! (y) Bless you for giving this girl the second chance she needs and giving her all the love it's gonna take to turn her life totally around.

She's a beautiful girl, life's the limit, Go Go Nanette!! (y):LOL:


Experienced Member
I seem to be a little late to this party!!!


So glad you've rescued Nan and are helping her overcome her issues in a positive way, she looks adorable.

I hope you enjoy this forum as much as the rest of us do :D