|Barked: Tue Mar 6, '07 7:20am PST |
|Because Dogs are the new Status Symbol- haven't you heard? They're all supposed to grow up to be like Benji crossed with both Air Bud and Lassie all on their own, with no training and less attention. (Bonus points for puppies in purses that Will Not fit into a handbag past three months.) And when it doesn't happen, they get stuffed into forgotten corners until the guilt of seeing them at all breeds anger in the DA owners( and I do *not* mean dog aggressive) who then begin actively abusing the dog instead of just passively neglecting him. At some point the owner will surrender the dog- not for the good of the dog, but out of fear of having him seen in the state that they've induced in him. Someone develops allergies, or has to move, or finds a stray. Bah, whatever. The dog is better off than he's ever been which is a blessing no matter how it happened.
Yes animals rebuild trust. Yes, it takes a long time- it tends to be directly related to how long he was in a neglectful/abusive situation and how severe was the abuse/neglect. Extreme case may never recover completely but can improve to incredible, lving, and functional degrees. Being hand-shy is common because the hand is the weapon of choice. I've found it helpful in rehabbing abused dogs to couple petting with treating. These babies tend to be even more food-motivated than usual, so petting becomes associated with something they find deeply satisfying. Also try to remember to let the dogs see your hands before you touch him. He may still flinch but that response will diminish when he learns to associate your hands with affection instead of pain. Then you can advance to showing one hand while petting with the other, then petting without showing hands. Talking to him will help, too. They're so keen to tones of voice and body language..
You're doing great. You're allowing him to build trust on his own terms and creating a sense of safety. Just keep being patient and I think you're both going to be fine.
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