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Adopted Stray with Behavior issues.

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#1 Scooterpilot



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Posted 26 April 2017 - 02:25 AM

Hi Everyone, 


I'm new to the forum and I do need some help.    Listed below is a history of things that happened since I've adopted my pup.



About six weeks ago I a adopted a 6 to 8 month old mutt from the local animal shelter.  When checking her temperament she seemed skittish (shy/afraid) of people and her surroundings.   She always had her tail between her legs, it was never hanging natural; nor, was it ever tail high and she is not aggressive at all. She is the most skittish/shy/afraid dog I’ve ever dealt with in my entire life.


She was under weight by a bunch.  Her ribs were showing, her teeth, eyes, ears, ARE  NOT diseased and she didn’t look like she had physical signs of abuse.  That is still an unknown? After speaking to Animal Control personnel, they alleged she is a stray.  She was not leash trained and is not fond of a collar.



Simply stated, first two weeks after adoption were hard on her because she had to adapt to an owner, new home and recover from surgery.  The day I picked her up from the shelter she had been spay.   I purchased an Elizabeth collar so she wouldn’t lick her wound.  She was placed in a 48” containment fence in the house. It had a bed for her and absorber pads adjacent to the bed on a tile floor.


She was allowed ¼ cup of water/food for the evening after surgery and ½ of each in the morning.   Slowly easing her into a normal diet in the next 24 to 48 hours.   She did use the absorber pad twice.  As I walked toward the containment fence she coward in her bed and began shaking.  I cleaned up the area, made sure she was clean, ignored her and left her in the containment fence. 


Each time there after she would extend her front legs and head from the bed, lick her lips and pant.  I observed this and picked her up and carried her to the back yard where she did her business.  I tried to re-enforce her action by giving her treats but she would not eat them.  That was then and now she cautiously accepts treats.


Also, forgot to mention she would not walk on the carpet. She wouldn’t walk at all in the house.  I would have had to drag her on a leash and that was NOT going to happen.  So for the first two weeks I carried her in and out of the house. 


She now has a water bowl 24/7.  Food bowl is provided the morning and evening. She has 60 minutes to eat for the food is removed. Observation:  For her to leave her bed to eat is stressful.  She slowly rises, looks around, licks her lips, pants, and stares, at the ceiling and stretches her body so her hind legs are still in the bed, extends her neck as far as possible and eats.  Immediately, she gets back in the bed and lies down.   This went on for two weeks.






When I first gave a small raw dog bone it seemed as though she did not know what to do with it.  After several attempts she now knows it’s a good tasting treat. 


When the Elizabeth collar was removed her containment fence was removed. She reacted adversely whenever I bumped up against the fence.  She withdrew all eye contact and turned away with her tail between her legs.  A noise she can’t anticipate makes her cower.  


Week three I started using a leash in the backyard.  She would take one or two steps and would lie down and not want to move.  Now she is much better on the leash but she still will lie down at the slightest noise or sight that startles her (i.e. a bush moving because of a gust of wind).



Four weeks after adopting her she is able to sleep in her safe space on a dog bed.  She has a backyard 100’ x 80’ for play. Also, she has her own kennel in the backyard  (6x6) with grass and a crate for her.  Whenever she is transported via vehicle she is placed in a crate.  She enters the crate without issue; however, having her exit the crate is not easy.  It’s evident the crate is a safe space and she does not want to leave it. 


Since I’m retired, I’m with her 24/7.  I call this the Doctor Jackal/Mr. Hyde personality.  During the day when in the backyard, she is scared of everything.  Her tail may hang naturally once in a while but it usually is tucked underneath her.  During the day she is not at ease.  She continually sniffs, yawns, and licks her lips.  She searches for places to lie down while in the backyard.  When she’s worn out from doing this, she enters her kennel and settles down and naps. 


At night when I take her outside so she can relieve herself she is a totally different pup.   She runs circuits as fast as she can around the backyard.   She stretches, her tail wags, and she comes up from behind me and nudges me with her nose.  She will run after her toy ball and pick it up and run all over the backyard with it.   She explores other areas of the yard she won’t go near during the day.  She runs up to me and turns around and runs away, while wagging her tail.  


For the aforementioned, it aligns with her being a stray and her level of comfort is at night and not during the day.  During the day she is so reclusive and non responsive to anything and everything.    Do you have any suggestion on how I can begin to make a behavior change so she is comfortable during the day when out doors?


Indoors is a whole different issue.  Be it day or night she is skittish of everything.  She is only comfortable if she is in her bed.  I have started walking her from her bed to the backyard and back into the house.  That is a stressful event for her.  I haven’t taken her to other parts of the house.  What this the best way to expand her movement within the house?



I have introduced her to another dog that is well grounded, good around people and other pets and very self-confident.  After several introductions, this week for the first time the two went on a walk in the park together.  Interaction was uneventful; however, my pup coward at any noise for movement.    I’ll continue to have my pup walk with this dog and other dogs for socialization.  This should have good results.


Any and all comments welcome. I could use all the help I can get.









#2 Viv


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Posted 27 April 2017 - 08:42 AM

Have yo had her vet checked--can she hear?? Did she come from a hoarders house maybe? Sounds like a proffesional trainer is needed a good one. Keep us posted.

Viv---- Dargon- English Mastiff. Jutz- English Mastiff-- Always in our hearts--Aughra- English Mastiff- Jorth- English Mastiff- Rontu--Bull Mastiff-- Annie and Blu--Dear Basset Hounds .Drac and Timber--Chow Chows- Baron-- Rottweiller

#3 willowlynn


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Posted 28 April 2017 - 03:33 AM

Hello, I agree, a Vet check is needed to rule out any health problems.  Does she like yummy treats, such as hot dogs or cheese?  I would sit near her, avoiding eye contact and toss treats in her direction several times a day, so she learns to trust you and not see you as a threat.  I also agree, you need a good positive trainer to come over and give you advice to increase her confidence.  Best of luck, and congrats on your new girl!  Most often the dogs that are hardest to work with turn into the best pets.

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