Working with an older puppy in a new home?

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Member Since
Barked: Sun May 26, '13 9:26pm PST 
We just yesterday adopted/rehomed an 11-month-old female shiba named Summer. She behaves nothing like we came to expect a shiba to behave.

She is very shy, does not play at all (and I mean at all), she is not eating or even drinking unless we hand feed her food soaked in stock (I had lamb stock on hand so that is what we were using). Seriously, it is in the upper 80s in temperature and she will not drink a drop of water without coaxing and help. I know eating right after a home switch is often slowed because they are nervous, but I've never seen a dog to not drink.

She is getting better at being around us, but she seems very skittish and wants to find somewhere to hide. She gets very nervous when anyone walks toward her or by her, even if it is slowly. She doesn't make a sound. No whimpers, no growls, no barks, nothing. She doesn't let us know shen she needs to go out either. She doesn't prance or trot or run, but slinks around trying to find somewhere to hide or she lies down and watches.

She is friendly and has only snapped at our other dog when she didn't like how the other dog pushed play and got in her face. When the other dog isn't being pushy, they get along great. They even cuddled up to sleep together last night. She actually gets along better with our children than with us, it seems. We took her to the pet store today and she let all sorts of kids come up to her and let her and she even leaned in them and seemed quite happy to be around them.

We do not have a lot of details about her previous home, but we know she was malnourished. They had her eating a "healthy-weight" adult dog food instead of puppy food, so she was getting about half the protein and fats she needed for the seven months she was in their home. The owners had a lot of small dogs and one of the two owners was disabled. She had never been on a walk with a leash with these owners and will not go anywhere on a leash, but has to be picked up to go anywhere she doesn't want to go of her own will. I suspect she was punished for making noise or playing and this could be part if why she doesn't do it now. She doesn't even seem to recognize her name when we talk to her, though that may just be that she doesn't care that we are saying her name.

So we feel like we rescued her. We are in contact with the breeder and will be seeing a vet after the holiday weekend. We are being very gentle and kind with her, coaxing her to eat and drink, as I said. We bought a retracting leash so she doesn't feel us pulling on her so much as she did with the short nylon leash she came with, which seems to make her a lot more comfortable. We are being sure she is with us almost all the time, so she sees that we are all in this together and we are good people, so she gets used to our habits and schedules and such. We bought her some high-protein, high-fat puppy food and intend to keep her in it for a few months to help her recover from her malnourished months.

What are some ideas people have or resources for helping her come out of her depression and her shell, helping her become healthier physically and mentally and emotionally?

Serious Face
Barked: Mon May 27, '13 11:37am PST 
It's only been a day, give her a little more time to settle in before getting really worried. It sounds like she's had a bit of a rough life so far. Keep coaxing her to eat and drink, take her out every few hours, and there's a good chance she'll realize she's in a new happy home and will let her personality come out more.
Our pup was flown in on a plane, and that whole first day she just kind of looked at us and refused to do anything but sit in the back of her crate. The next couple of days, she wasn't up for very much either, no whining or crying just looking depressed. It was a big change for her, with a lot of confusion and stress.

But almost a week later, she's playing outside and eating much better. smile

Her Royal- Higness
Barked: Sat Jun 8, '13 3:58am PST 
It will take a little bit for her to come out of it. Just give her lots of love, show her where she needs to go to get a drink, or even have your children do it. It took our shiba 2 months to completely get out of the new home funk.