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How to act with an abused dog


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Guest Anonymous

Hello - I have a 4 year old Vizsla (female) that was used as a hunting dog - but I have recently adopted her. When me and my wife are with her together she is fine - happy- bouncy and excited, and if you know about vizslas when they are happy their tails are straight out. When I come home from work and my wife is not there the dog shivers and her tail lays between her legs, signifying she is scared. I suspect the hunters did not treat her well or punished her when she did something wrong??? I am not sure, but my question to people out there is what should I do in this case to stop the dog from shivering/ acting scared when me and her are alone

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It must hurt your feelings to have her react to you this way when you know you wouldn't harm a hair on her head. :(

I would suggest just being her "food" friend to start with. If she is really scared, use treats to show her you are a good thing. If she will come to you on her own, just sit and let her come to you and give her a treat for approaching you and give her [b]quiet[/b] verbal praise. I would suggest [b]you [/b]feed her her meal in the evening as well. Once she is accepting you more readily, I would start playing games with her (does she like tug..or was that frowned upon in the hunting world?). Most dogs gain a lot of confidence with a good game of tug or fetch. She will learn that you are worth knowing if you provide food and fun and not pain.

Also, remember body language through the whole process. Try not to lean over the dog while she is frightened. I have had some foster dogs that were nervous around my husband and he would do the worst thing- as the dog was slinking up into a ball in front of him he would lean over the dog to offer his hand in friendship and all the dog saw was this big thing it is afraid of hovering over it in a threatening manner. Get down on a knee, avoid direct eye contact and keep it fun.

Good luck! I'm sure she'll be in love with you in know time.

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From what I've seen with other dogs that acked this this is because the dog was definately abused by a male and doesn't trust males at all.

It will take some time but like stated above, start out giving her treats. Maybe start doing this when your wife is there and when your wife is not there get down on your knees about 5 to 10 feet from her and lightly toss some treats to her saying is a very soft and comforting voice here ya go. Each time you toss a treat have it land closer to you. Let her come to you to get the treats. If she is 10 feet from you and you toss the treat 5 feet from you but she wont come to get it, get up and move back. Let her get to trust you. Don't try to rush it. It will take time.

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I just want to add, just because a dog is frightened of a man, it does not mean the dog was abused by men. I find alot of dogs which spend their lives in kennels can have low self esteems and can be cowardly towards men due to them having a dominant stance about them...men talk louder (their voices are louder) they have bolder body language etc. I have been given 9 Newfoundland dogs from a friend of mine who breeds them...they were at the dog shows every week end...they were never abused, they were well looked after...but, they had a very sheltered life. When I brought my young male Newfounland dog he was happy go lucky until he saw some thing which scared him...what may seem trivia to us; may be a big deal to your dog...I walked into the kitchen carrying a bag of dog food...he freaked! he backed into a corner, his head went down and tail between the legs and he was shaking badly...I never thought that he had been abused by a bag of dog food... :o only that he had never seen some one carrying a bag of dog food!!! my bitch when I first adopted her at 5 years of age was scared to death of men...even though she was around the breeders husband when he fed the dogs and the judges at the shows etc. this dog had never been abused by a man...she was intimidated by men...they are dominant and she was scared...kennel dogs lead very sheltered lives...
as sushiwelldone advised you, boost the dogs confidence...if the dog is acting frightened don't try to over do it by walking towards the dog...in the dogs mind when you walk directly towards him it is a very assertive gesture and can bring about more fear. I have found the best solution is for the person the dog is fearful of... is for that person to ignore the dog and go about their business...don't force yourself on the dog...my Newf which was frightened of men now loves them...I tell people to just ignore her when they first come into the house and let her come to them I gave them a few treats to put in their pockets for when she did come up to them they had some thing for her ....of course I had done alot of confidence boosting excercises with my Newfoundland dog...I do not change my tone of voice or ask others to change their tone, the only time I change my tone of voice is when my dog does some thing which I do not like, then I use a bolder voice, or when my dog has done some thing I think is great, then I use a uppity voice...I just tell people to act normally as if the dog wasn't there. She is doing great now, and when a man comes to visit she is one of the first of my 5 dogs to come out bounding to greet them. My male Newf. which was frightened of his own shadow also is a much more confident dog now...he needed time to get used to all the new things which he was being subjected to...it takes time...it took him quite awhile to adapt to living in a house instead of a kennel...even a strange noise would have him running around in a panic...

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Ahh...I've had the same problem..As most of you know, my Irish Wolfhound Boomer had been dropped on the side of the road in a town nearby so when we found him, we brought him home...when we went to pet him he would put his tail in between his legs and put his tummy closest to the ground as possible as if he had been beaten recently..we also found a few sore marks on him...A Few weeks later, Boomie realized he had a home, where people and other doggies loved him and after getting along and playing with Holly, he adapted to this home and now he is as a "happy as can be 2 year old (size of a 5 year old :P lol)" and i dont even know if he remembers his awfull experience!

WHAT CRUEL PEOPLE TO DO SUCH A THING :evil:

but i think if you just give him time to adapt and show him u care for him, he should adjust.

Let us know what happens! :D

Mich

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[quote]I just want to add, just because a dog is frightened of a man, it does not mean the dog was abused by men. I find alot of dogs which spend their lives in kennels can have low self esteems and can be cowardly towards men due to them having a dominant stance about them...[/quote]

I believe Cassie to be right on the mark. I have a female Foxhound, who also was raised in a kennel and used for hunting, and she is afraid of my son and all his male friends. I have had her over a month, and this is the
first time she has agreed to stay downstairs (although in my room) when the boys are in the house. She still isnt completely comfortable with my son or his friends, although if I am in the room she will let him pet her
(although not his friends). This is a long transference, however, you can make it go quicker by using all the excellent advice above.

Good luck - be patient, it will happen...

:D

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