HELP! First time with rescue, terrified of people, won't leave kennel.... and more!

This is a special section for dogs needing new homes and for inspiring stories of dogs that have found their furever home through Dogster or through the love and energy of rescuers. This is also the place to discuss shelters, rescue organizations, rescue strategies, issues, solutions, etc. and how we can all help in this critical endeavor. Remember that we are all here for the love of dog! If you are posting about a dog that needs a new home, please put your location in the topic of your thread so those close by can find you! Make sure to check out Dogster's dog adoption center!

(Page 1 of 2: Viewing entries 1 to 10)  
Page Links: 1  2  
Bella &- Cougar

Barked: Sun Nov 4, '12 7:50am PST 
Hello all!

I have just agreed to foster (or keep, we'll see) a dog that has been severely abused and starved. He has been with a vet for three weeks but is still extremely skinny. He has only been here with me since Friday evening, and has made a bit of progress, but still I have some concerns that I don't know what to do about.

He has made the kennel his "safe place." He stays there ALL day and night long... literally. He will NOT get up on his own. The only way I can get him out to go outside is to literally drag him with a harness and leash until he stands. I HATE doing that b/c I know it isn't making things better. I'm not sure if this is because he is weak or because he is scared... or both. He has, however, gotten better about walking with me outside on the leash. If I take him off the leash, he runs and goes straight back to the kennel inside. This morning, he did actually get out of the kennel several times, but he went to check out what the other dogs had left to eat in their kennel and then went back to his. He did become a little curious another time and came to the door and peered out while I was outside. I walked toward the door and he was back in the kennel when I got back inside.

I have NO idea what I'm doing or how to gain his trust, but I know that dragging him isn't helping. My questions are:
- Do I allow him to stay in his "safe place" until he feels comfortable enough to come out and check things out on his own? Or do I try to force him out of his comfort zone (as was previously suggested by the rescue org.)?
- How else can I get him to come out just to go to the bathroom other than pulling him?
- He allows me to pet him in his kennel, but if I allow him off the leash outside, he won't stay near me. He takes food from my hand in his kennel, but outside, he won't. I am feeding him in his kennel. Am I enabling the "safe place" too much? It's only day three, but still...
- Suggestions on next steps?


It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Sun Nov 4, '12 10:19am PST 
I don't know anything about dog training except what I've learned by trial and error with my dogs, but I would suggest you closely read "The Lost Dogs". It's a book about the Vick dogs and they detail techniques they used for some of the ones who needed the most rehabilitation. That book might have groups listed that might have good advice too. Best of luck, I'm sure your baby has alot of potential it just takes time and patience.

Code name:- Farmcollie
Barked: Sun Nov 4, '12 12:56pm PST 
Hmm...I'm not sure, but this taming protocol for feral/totally unsocialized dogs may have some helpful insights for you:


Bella and- Daisy CGC

I'm a Meanie
Barked: Sun Nov 4, '12 5:43pm PST 
Bella was like this when I brought her home.

For the first couple weeks...I'd mostly let him stay in his safe place. Let him observe you living life around him, let him get used to household sounds and smells. He is already showing you that he WANTS to trust you and get to know your other dogs. He might have never lived in a house...or may have only ever known a crate.

Yes, you might have to pull him out for potty breaks but that is ok for now. Bring him right back in and to his crate. If he will eat, use really high value treats like hot dogs pieces to get him out of his crate for potty time.

You can try him on a long line if you want to give him a bit more 'space' outside but really, brisk walks and back inside is all he needs right now.

Right now as far as training I would work on house training, name training, and general trust. Sit outside his crate, read out loud to him. Remember he may have no been exposed to TV and radio type noises and that might scare him and keep him hiding in his crate.

This website has a lot of good information too.

Fearful Dogs

When I brought Bella home I took her out, made her exercise and go to training classes and walks trying to get her to "bond" with me. Which was what all the trainers I talked to said to do.

What she really needed was to be able to relax, heal from being malnourished, learn what living inside a house was like, and learn I wasn't the bad guy. I know that now and use that knowledge when I bring my fosters into the house. Basically-they dictate the speed, not me!

Edited by author Sun Nov 4, '12 5:51pm PST

Jax (earned- her wings- 5/30/12)

Give me your- toy.
Barked: Sun Nov 4, '12 6:36pm PST 
I agree with Bella. But remember you just got him. Baby steps are very important for a dog like him. You can sit by his crate and read or use your computer. Spending lots of quiet time with him is important. Don't make eye contact or try to touch him during this time. You really don't have a choice to touch him when you take him out, but use the quiet time so he can get used to you being near him. If he approaches you at all, do NOT acknowledge him. No eye contact, or touching or reaching. Just let him check you out. If he starts to touch you, like nudging or licking, then you can try having a really yummy treat to give him. Don't hand it to him just let him come to you and take it. This may take a while, days or weeks. You have to have lots of patience. Be very careful not to scare him with any sudden movements. There was another person on here that was fostering a dog very similar to your situation. I think it was Sarah, maybe she'll pop in and have some advice. Good Luck!
Sarah, CWSR,- CWG1, CGC

Million Dollar- Mutt
Barked: Sun Nov 4, '12 6:49pm PST 
I just gave my scared girl a lot of time. I let her be in her own room with potty pads so that she could potty when I wasn't there. I would just go in there and bring my laptop or a book and hang out. My situation was a little different though because she had puppies and most of her fear/shyness was due to hormones/stress. Once the puppies were a little more independent she totally blossomed into a wonderful dog.

I would recommend leaving a short leash on the dog all the time so that when you have to make him go out, you aren't reaching for his head and grabbing his neck, since that is quite threatening. Bring some yummy food with you when you go to see him. Eventually the dog will figure out that you are the "give of all good things". Can you hand feed the dog? That might help. Sorry I can't give you any more ideas. Please keep us updated!!

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Mon Nov 5, '12 11:35am PST 
When I got Sophie she was up to the next stage you're trying to get to. She would pancake over the slightest noise but she saw me as her safe person. For a year she was wrapped around my feet as I washed dishes, in the bathroom, in bed. Three years later she progressed to laying in my husbands lap and even learned to walk off leash beautifully. It took four years and she still has moments when she freezes in fear, but her recovery time is much easier now.little angel

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Mon Nov 5, '12 7:14pm PST 
When I brought Bud home I put his crate in my office. I would just quietly go about my business and eventually he started sneaking over to lay behind me. I kept lots of treats handy and would just randomly drop one beside me. Once he stopped trying to attack me I fed him his meals by hand. I also used to sit by his crate and read to him or tell him stories just so he got used to my voice and me being there. Things were a bit complicated by the need for medical attention. We were forced to muzzle him and do some not nice things to help him.
Just go slow and give lots of time and space.

All I need is- Love......
Barked: Tue Nov 6, '12 9:51am PST 
Go and ready the beginning of Darcy's diary. First off remember to breathe! Patience will pay off! When you go to get him out of the crate be calm, take lots of deep breaths through the mouth and out the nose. Don't make direct eye contact, turn your head/body away from him so he doesn't feel threatened. Get some hot dogs, slice it up and the cut into quarters. When you're watching tv toss the treats towards him, no eye contact. Ignore him, but use your side vision to keep an eye on him. Work him into tethering him to you. Give him I used an 8' lead clipped to my belt hoop. That way he can learn to trust. No sudden movements, be calm. If you need help p-mail me. I understand exactly what you're going through and am here if you need me. flowers

ETA: as long as he is comfortable in his crate, let him be. Go buy a 10-12' lead, when he goes outside for potty put him on it. Do not let him use a doggie door. He needs to learn to trust you for his safety. This is alot of work, but you CAN do it! Darcy stayed in her crate shaking for weeks. When we would go outside she would take the lead to the end and go potty. Staying as far away from me as possible. It's been a few years and she still has alot of fears, especially when it comes to people, but she trusts me to come to me for safety. One of the things that taught her trust was I would hand feed her. She would be tethered to me and I would mix up her food, sit on the sofa and put some food in my hand and watch tv. She at when she felt like she could. Trust me she did not starve. Funny, she was rescued from Beaumont, TX, what is it about TX rescues? thinking

Edited by author Tue Nov 6, '12 9:56am PST


It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Wed Nov 7, '12 4:57pm PST 
Another treat that can work wonders...meatballs
  (Page 1 of 2: Viewing entries 1 to 10)  
Page Links: 1  2