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Behavior Mod.

Tips For Handling Previously Abused Dogs

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If you got a rescue dog that used to be abused, then you are more likely going to have problems in training him, and you may need to study these Tips For Handling Previously Abused Dogs. This is because abused dogs behave differently than most dogs – they have trust issues due to their traumatic experiences, and you will need to exert more effort and be more patient to regain his trust. In this article, we are going to give you some information, pointers and Tips For Handling Previously Abused Dogs.

Tips For Handling Previously Abused Dogs

First of all, a dog that has been abused usually displays a lot of fear, or it may react by being overly agressive. It is easily startled and is afraid of even the simplest things, like if you suddenly raise your voice or make a loud noise, it moves as if it is startled or alarmed. Because of his traumatic past, he will think that you are angry or will hit him violently. Often you can tell if a dog has been abused if he is afraid of sounds that normal dogs don’t react to, like ambulance sirens, loud noises and fireworks.

Abused dogs also have the tendency to hide under or behind some object such as furniture, trying to avoiding danger and be safe. Again, this stems from its fear of its previous handlers, because they are afraid of being hit..

However, not all abused dogs exhibit this behavior. In fact, some have become totally aggressive due to being provoked all the time. It is quite the same in human nature as it is in dogs – when a person is exposed to violence, he or she will eventually adapt to the situation and return the violence he or she received. Dogs may also become paranoid about possible threats, and become angry or aggressive and may even attack people or other dogs. This kind of aggression depends on how much the dog was abused and what it has faced during its traumatic experiences.

The actions that could possibly trigger your dog’s aggression or fear if he was abused are the following:

  • Sudden gestures
  • Raising your voice (either to the dog or to other people)
  • Saying a word or term that was used by the former owner
  • Raising a hand, as if to hit
  • Touching the dog in a wounded area
  • Using objects like tennis rackets or ball bats

If you do one of these actions and your dog starts to bark or growl aggressively, then try to avoid that behavior. Also note that because your dog has trust issues, it may not be easy to pet or groom him; that is why you will need to train him to trust you and other people first.

Special training is required for abused dogs, because of their fear and trust issues. Be gentle with your voice and gestures and always try to calm him down. You will very likely need the assistance of a behavioral trainer, but be sure to take part in the training procedure so that you will be able to gain your dog’s trust, and that you will eventually be seen as the “alpha” dog.

These tips are summarized well in an eHow.com article:

Adopting a dog that has been abused can be a very rewarding experience. In most cases, the effects of the abuse can be reversed over time. However, it is important to remember that the dog comes to you with a history in which humans were not very kind. It can take a lot of time and patience to prove to the dog that not all humans are mean.

Dealing with a dog with such a past is probably the biggest challenge a dog owner will ever face. Hopefully these Tips For Handling Previously Abused Dogs will be of help.

Have you owned an abused dog that was particularly challenging? Was there any trick you used that was especially helpful? If so, please share below.

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  1. Avatar Of Ruth Thomas

    Ruth Thomas


    Its been 3 years since we rescued 2 puppies that had both been abused. The 1st adjusted. The 2nd is still afraid of everything, noise, movement, he wont lay down on the bed or mat we got for him. He just stands or walks. At night we allow them in the bedroom and he will go on the bed and laydown. That’s the only place he will laydown. Now he will play with us, he loves us, we can tell, but he’s always on the lookout for what can hurt him, poor guy. We’ve taken him to vet after vet who want us to buy their pheromone products, toys, spray we’ve tried everything pheromone you can imagine and no results. There must be some meds to give dogs like him, to help through the terror that is in his mind. But cant find a vet anywhere near us that will give him meds. After 3 years, the pheromone answer is no, just no. Not to mention the money spend on the vets and their products. ugh, we need real help or he’s going to have a heart attack. Seriously the less than 4yo and he’s going gray, we need help for him.

  2. Avatar Of Peter Mathis

    peter mathis


    We recently adopted 2 small dogs .im sure there was serious abuse .the owner died.one is a good friendly dog tiny bit skiddish.the other is totaly scared to death of me it has bit me .my wife can hold the dog he hides behind her.sometimes i can pick him up and hes ok to pet him love him and all the sudden he will just bolt like u were trying to kill him.you can see the fear in him with no provication.he is difficult to deal withi am an animal person my wife not so much.i dont want to surrender him hes cute but i dont think he would get adopted permanetly.he would go to back and forth till he was put down .i dont want that .im open to ideas please .

  3. Avatar Of Jaelyn Cleveland

    Jaelyn cleveland


    Okay so I’m pretty sure my boy dog was abused in the home he was in before he was with us. He hates men for some reason, he barks for longer periods of time at them and never stops. He barks whenever someone comes over and even at random things. Whenever someone tried to pick him up he pretty much just huddles into a ball. He doesnt know how to play fetch and when he eats he gets scored by the tag around his collar. He doesnt really know how to do anything. He cant play, he cant sleep in someone’s bed, and hes always barking. I dont know what to do.

  4. […] Jax has a tendency to flinch and retreat if he hears raised voices or someone raises their hand. The Dogington Post recommends, that instead of using physical punishment, you use verbal commands to make the dog […]

  5. Avatar Of Samantha



    We have recently taken in a 1 year old female supposed pit-bull mix. For this poor baby we are now her 4th estimated home for her short life span. She was abused and bullied, then found on the road. I got her from my sister, who took her off of a mutual family friend. While Penny was in the hands of the family friend she was put in a room with a baby gate and was allowed to poop and pee in the house because the people in the house were too lazy to take her out, or they were not home enough. She only spent 2 weeks with my sister before she was brought to my care. She pees instantly on the floor while being disciplined, she barks, has no leash manners and jumps. Along with digging holes in my back yard and has destroyed 1 and a half pairs of my shoes. She has plenty of toys, and bones along with her own blanket. She is so sweet and loving, but we are at our wits end. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  6. Avatar Of Vicky



    We recently got a blue heeler that’s suppose to be 1yr 1 month old. The owner said she was the only home, on a horse ranch, the dog has known. Reason for rehoming her was the other dogs bullied her. She was so drugged that it didn’t wear off till the next day. She has taken up residence in my office. Gets along great with the cats and my bassett hound. Won’t move. Huddles terrified on the floor. We have to carry her outside and in. She won’t go out on her own, pees on the floor and poops. I rent and worry about the carpet, but more over, I am worried about her. Someone has beaten her. It’s the only thing I can think of. I work, but after work, I lie on the floor in front of her and talk to her, she’s been inching up so I can reach her. I pet her and love her, check on her several times, invite her to come outside with me and the bassett. How long can this go on for her? Tears my heart out to see her so afraid, I want to fix it, to help her. She has it in her to be fabulous, she deserves it.

    • Vicky, first of all – THANK YOU! Thank you, so much, for rescuing her and for taking the time necessary to show her that she’s now safe and in a loving environment. Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing how long her fearfulness may last. But, the fact that she’s showing progress – albeit slow – is promising. Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep showing her love and security. She will eventually come around. I would also suggest some confidence building exercises.

      Blue Heelers are very smart and very energetic, in addition to physical exercise, they need mental exercise. And, mental exercises are HUGE confidence builders for insecure and fearful dogs. If she is food motivated, provide simple puzzle games and treat dispensing toys (I have a fearful pup of my own who has shown remarkable improvement in confidence using puzzle games – but, some games are loud or make sudden movements that can be scary, so look for puzzles and treat toys that are soft, quiet, and simple to start and work toward more challenging games. (search ‘dog puzzle games’ on Amazon to see mental activities/brain games for dogs) In addition to brain games, work on simple training exercises – sit, shake, lay down, etc. and reward even small accomplishments with tons of praise and treats.

      Most importantly – don’t give up on her. One day, very soon, her fear will begin to fade and her true personality will begin to shine brightly!

  7. Avatar Of Becky



    I rescued a lab about a month ago. He is an amazing dog and doesn’t show signs of abuse other than being a little skittish and the physical markings. He is the most loving dog towards humans and other dogs. However, he has developed heavy anxiety. I am unable to leave him home alone. He does well when I leave him in the care of a friend. But when I have no other choice I leave him in a crate. I do all the things recommended (leave Netflix running, cover the crate with a blanket, leave something to keep them occupied, etc). This morning I returned home to find him covered in blood. He hurt himself trying to open the cage with his mouth. He was having a massive panic attack. If I leave him home alone outside of his crate he scratches at the front door. He just doesn’t do well alone. But I can’t not be able to leave my house for the rest of his life. Please help

    • Avatar Of Fran



      Melatonin with Lemon Balm extract. Give it to him using cream cheese. It is available at Target in 3 mg tablets. Google the dosage or ask your vet by weight. I give 1.5 mg to my 10 lb dog who has been abused and has separation anxiety. Also the petstores sell homeopathic calming treats. Read the directions, because the amount of treats are by weight of the dog. Zukes is excellent calming treat.

  8. My husband and i rescued a shitzu over 3 years ago that was abused and neglected and never had any loving human contact. She was very scared of both of us at first but then she took to me and i became her mom, her everything. She was never left home alone and went ever where with us, injntil approkx. 1 yr.ago when we moved to anotgher state and circumstances changed and i had to start leaving her home periodically.
    Anyways, it took her just over a year and a half for her to finally warm up to my husband. But finally did and all has been pretty good until lately. She is acting like she is scared of my husband or runs off the bed away from him eve n when we are tryikng to give her treats. He is so hurt and doesnt understand why she is doi ng this?
    Do u think because he is the one that grooms her (& she hates it) that shes afraid he is going to groom or something? What else could be causing her change in behavior? Please help. He is very hurt by this. Thank u so much for listenikng.

  9. Avatar Of Cynthia



    I adopted a female mix breed mini pinscher and pomeranian from a month and 1 week… She is 1 year and half. She was abused from her previous owners and then moved to another owner who prpobably was also abusing her (that is my feeling) and finally i adopted her from the guy… First she barely barks all day… Whenever i am home she stays asleep all the time either besides me on the couch or ok the floor next to me too… She doesn’t move or go anywjere in the house unless i took her… In her first week when i used to leave her alone she never did any chewing or destruction but them she started to… She used to pee on the balcony while i am away but now she do it on purpose in the house when i go to sleep she even potted in the room… She is afraid of man and male dogs that approach her from behind… Whenever we are out of the house she plays eith me and answers my commands directly but When we go back home she becomes another dog.. If i want to train her or teach her and give her a treat as a result she don’t take the treat and after a while she takes it… Even if she is sitting besides me she doesn’t answer me when i call her name while she get attention but she doesn’t look at me sometimes… I don’t know how to help her to overcome her fears and build trust…she don’t accept to play in front of me with any toy but when i leave or sleep she starts to play with the toy she is stubborn and intelligent
    Any help please i have no idea what to do with her she is driving me crazy sometimes specially when she gets afraid with no reason she only welcomes me in the morning and when i come home or when we go to sleep otherwise she barely give me attention

    • Avatar Of Pam



      Hi, I have worked with many abused dogs. You say that your dog doesn’t pay attention to you. Give her a reason to pay attention. You need to become the greatest thing that was ever created as far as your dog is concerned. She has to learn trust you. She needs to learn that you are a safe and wise leader. She has to learn that with you nothing bad is going to happen to her. She needs motivation. trust me… hot dogs. Every time she is doing something right give her a small piece of hot dog. call her name, if she looks at you…hot dog. Call her and when she comes to you or makes and attempt to come to you … hot dog. keep your voice and body calm. Don’t touch her head unless it is necessary. don’t reach over her head as this is uncomfortable. Have someone rub your head and pat it. Have someone put thier hands around your face or touch it. It is is not a good feeling. Your dog feels the same way. Your dog can’t tell you what has happened to her. But trust me, dogs do not do things out of spite or on purpose. Your dog is reacting to something. She is not peeing in the house on purpose. You are not taking herout often enough.
      Imagine wanting someone to understand you, imagine being afraid or depressed and not having anyone to talk to. Imagine being hurt and having to live with the person who abuses you and there is no one that you can go to for help. Imagine what it would be like to never be able to say, stop that you are hurting me, or you are scaring me. That is the way it is for your dog. You don’t know what your dog has experienced. Being patient. She is not not a bad dog. She has been through a great deal and now has been traumatized and taught that humans are not safe and can not be trusted. Put yourself in her paws. her world is not a safe place and it is up to you to make it safe. Research, and research some more online. Learn about helping the abused dog.

      • Avatar Of Eve



        Hi Pam
        You say you have worked with many abused dogs. I recently picked up a dog who was starving and terrified on the road. He is in my yard but is aggressive. His tail is under all the time so obviously scared. I am feeding him giving him bones and treats he has blankets and everything he needs but is not allowing me to go anywhere near him just growls at me aggressively with lips up showing me his teeth as a warning. Its been 5 days I have tried to get closer but he is too aggressive. I don’t want to call council or dog shelters as they will remove him by force and have him put down but this is a terrible situation as we are now terrified of each other. Please help!

  10. Avatar Of Mandy



    A few weeks ago I got a Toy Poodle from a women who kept her in a pin outside her house with a shed attached and a doggy door on it. When I went to get her I heard what sounded like several other puppies in the shed but she wouldn’t let me or my aunt go look, she said they were someone else’s and they were supposed to be coming to get them i’m not sure, so anyway back to the point I could tell right off that my baby girl had been abused because i’ve had abused pets before but with her its different i know nothing about her situation before i got her so now i’m trying to train her or find some way to but everything I do scares her and i’m worried about it but I have to do something. She’s peeing and pooping on my carpet in mine and my sister’s room instead of on the potty pads she’s peed on my bed, torn up one of my magazines, chewing on my pillows and blanket among other things. If there is anyone who has any suggestions please let me know..

    • Avatar Of J



      Mandy – any dog chewing like that is a sign that it is bored. Try playing with her more often. House training is easy. Take them outside 4-8x per day and when they pee/poop give them a treat. They don’t have the opportunity to pee/poop indoors if you take them out enough.

  11. Avatar Of Sammie



    7months ago, we got a beagle from the pound.His name was Hunter, and we renamed him Sammie. He was very shy. Had been in the shelter for months, and would not move an inch, not turn his head, nor glance at anyone. He was scared stiff. He is very scared of any sudden noises, he was even scared yesterday when I was pulling a picture frames off a wall. He is too scared of balls, so we haven't tried to teach him to fetch yet. But after 6 months, he started walking toward me when I call his name, which was a big accomplishment. We have other dogs, and he feels most comfortable around them. I'm very happy we adopted him as it appears we had the perfect home for his needs. Plus he is so sweet and adorable, and very smart. He's always paying attention to what is occurring around him. He is about 3 yrs old, the shelter wasnt sure what the exact age was. Sometimes I wonder what his past is, but I hope he forgets about it one day so he can be completely free and happy.

  12. Avatar Of Wild



    I have a purebred chihuahua whom was abused. When we first got him the owner had us meet at a hotdog shop to buy him, she put him down and he ran under the car (their was absolutely no goodbye or anything she just gave him and left) She had been selling him 50 bucks, claiming they didn't have the money to treat his fleas. We got him, flea infested, overgrown nails, he had a long standing rotten tooth that had to be yanked out by a vet (it caused his breath to smell like a dumpster). We got home and went to put a collar on him and he ran, we had to corner him in a garage and towel him (he was attacking)
    Anyways, he's highly submissive so if you go to pick him up he rolls over and pees, but he's always yearning for attention. He just hates loud noises, strangers, and a few other things.

  13. Avatar Of Sami



    I got a 4 year old female Yorkie Chihuahua mix. She has been abused by a family members girlfriend. She hit her and kicked her didn't let her drink because she didn't like the noises it made. She's very nervous and she wines or whimpers when you go to pick her up sometimes. She is potty trained but she walks around with her tail between her legs and when she is scared she will sit on one side of the couch in a ball. She's in heat now. Looking to get her fixed next month. She cowers when my boyfriend will try to do anything with her she will shake and shake she does with me sometimes we don't know what to do. He wants to give up on her I need tips and ideas to help me!! I also have two cats which she has been around cats before.

  14. Avatar Of Kristian Williams

    Kristian Williams


    I have a corgi/lab mix, not sure how they did that. And she was fine for about two years, then when I got roommates she started acting funny. She is shy, and very skiddish. Almost like she had been hurt. She shows all the signs of being abused. It's been a year or so since my roommates lived here and she is still hard to get to. I'm worried about her. She trusts me and my wife, but she runs from anyone else. She used to chase people and show fearlessness any chance she got, but now I can't pet her without her recoiling. I'm worried she is hurt on the inside and I'm not sure what to do to help her. Like I said, she trusts me. But I can't help but feel as tofu I scare her every now aND then.

    Any suggestions to help her?

  15. Avatar Of Jo Clayton Jo Clayton says:

    I have a chihuahua that was brought to me to foster. She had 5 puppies before she was brought to me but didn’t produce enough milk to sustain all the babies. The person that had her didn’t try to bottle feed ,nothing to help her. One by one her babies started dying and were taken from her. This person finally called our rescue and asked one of our rescuers to pick up the mother and 2 babies that were still hanging on by a thread When I got the babies they were almost gone , felt like a dishrag. The mama was running around frantically looking for her babies that had died while still trying to feed the two that were still alive. Watching this broke my heart. She was trying so hard to save her babies. I could only get 2 drops of milk replacer in each puppy every hour for the first 30 + hours. A vet had given me a recipe for calcium deficiency several years ago. The recipe consists of 1 can of carnation milk , 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of honey. He also told me if I had any multi vitamins to add at least one to the mixture. I gave the mother unlimited access to this mixture praying she would eventually start producing milk. Did I mention she was also severely malnourished ? After getting her on a routine of nourishment she very slowly began to produce a little milk. I still had to supplement with milk replacer but each day got better until she was feeding them on her own. After being severely traumatized by slowly losing 3 of her babies I checked her out really good,cut her nails, etc. She has absolutely no aggression in her. She never growled , offered to bite. All she would do after I feed her babies was lick my hand like she was thanking me. I noticed she had what appeared to be Freckles on her head. As I looked closer , to my horror I realized they weren’t Freckles they were scars. That explains why when I reach to pick her up she cowers, tries to crawl under the floor. She is terrified of humans This dog has been beaten on the head , kicked , whatever She has been severely abused physically and mentally. I have no idea how old she is or how long she experienced the abuse. I’m beginning to believe I’m not going to be able to bring her out of this behavior. She has been with me 5 months , her babies thrived and grew into beautiful chihuahua puppies. The little girl is a little undersized but the vet thinks she will catch up with her brother. A wonderful lady adopted both puppies so they could stay together. They went to their forever home last weekend. I’m not sure what to do with Baylee. If she has improved , I’m not seeing any evidence of improvement. She is completely house trained but even if I prop the door open she will not come back inside She runs to a corner and still cowers and tries to crawl under the ground or floor when I pick her up. I am beginning to wonder if I remind her of the person that did this to her ? I have been involved in rescue most of my life , 45 years , I’m 62 and I have never encountered a dog as traumatized as Baylee. She will never be adoptable with this behavior. If she is loose in the house she runs under the bed or behind anything she can find a hole big enough to slip thru. Ive had to Baylee proof my house. She managed to fit behind my dryer and it took me an hour to get her out. I have never ever raised my voice around her. I hold her as much as possible. She sleeps with me The only place she will lay is between my pillows I love on her , kiss her. When I hold her she is as stiff as a statute. Her eyes dart back and forth like she’s wondering when all this good treatment is going to stop and she will be beaten again. She just cant relax or trust. I have other dogs and I have really neglected them with my attention trying to give Baylee as much attention as possible. I kno this is a long post but I’m really clueless. I even bought her one of those wraps that people use for dogs that r afraid of storms , etc. Hoping it would help her feel more secure. Does anyone out there have any suggestions ?

    • Avatar Of Brooke



      I'm so sorry to hear about Baylee. People don't realize dogs have their own psychology and can be permanently damaged by abuse. It makes me sad to think she might always have a hard time accepting love.

      My uncles took in an abused little chihuahua last summer. It took a loooooong, long time for him to let us pet him without him peeing everywhere or running away and cowering.

      It sounds like Baylee'so case is more severe, but we used lots and lots of treats. For the first 6 months or so, we only approached him slowly and from the side (our side, we never walked straight at him).

      He really turned a corner when we started to say, "pet?" Before we reached down to pet him. That gave him the option to come closer or walk awayou. It was on his terms AND he always knew what was coming. "Pet" means pet. Nothing else. Ever.

      We also stopped saying "good boy" for a while because it made him flinch. I assume his previous owners would lure him in that way before punishment.

      We also hired a trainer who taught us a game called "treat retreat" which has done wonders.

      I hope some of these things help with Baylee!

    • Avatar Of Michelle Garcia

      Michelle Garcia


      I have the same situation. A month ago I rescued a dog that lived by a church dumpster.I think people through rocks at him because the same thing that you have explained is what I am battling with this dog.I am searching the internet trying to find ways to sooth him and make him feel safe

  16. Avatar Of Sherry Keller

    Sherry Keller


    We live out in the country and our dog brought home a beagle who was just dropped off and left to fend for herself. It’s been about 3 months and we learned her name by just trying some and she answered to Lady. She had puppies on thanksgiving and they are adorable for being a black lab/ beagle mix. she e would watch how we treated our dog and the cats we have and she slowly is starting to trust us.we have to use quiet voices with her and if my husbands raises his voice she runs and hides. My daughter is the one who she really trusts the most and you can see a bond forming between them and she doesn’t mind us handling the puppies. My biggest concern is that she may get scared and bite someone she doesn’t know. does anyone have any advice for us.I would really appreciate anything that may help her. we have figured out that whoever had her before was a taller man with a rough voice. so we have been working with her and she’s starting to trust but it seems to be a long process

  17. Avatar Of Anita Redmond

    Anita redmond


    A friend has a yorkie,over a year, was tied to a fixture in a bathroom and was never out, she’s friendly out going , but because she wasn’t let out of the bathroom she pees when ever and where ever. They now how to train dogs but because of the abuse it’s not working. She even pees in her crate and lays in it, she can’t afford a trainer, any suggestions

    • Avatar Of Cathey



      Best that I know rake her out every hour she doesn’t know any better thinks it’s normal
      I potty trained all mine and they go out every 1/2 hour till they learned the works potty outside

  18. Avatar Of Ann Ann says:

    Need a ADvice how to stop my dog for trying to go for someone when she be abused with man and woman

  19. Avatar Of Lissette Pagan

    Lissette Pagan


    On October 15th I adopted 2 Yorkies, not from the same litter but they were raised together. they are both 1yr 7months old. I believe one was tortured by one of the families they were fostered in. He wants to bark and bite everyone he sees. I know he needs a lot of attention and love that he was not getting and probably obedient school which will be my next step. I am trying to work with him as much as possible, sometimes they use the wee wee pads and sometimes they do not, I come home to a mess. I really do not want to give him back but I don’t want to have a lawsuit on my hands if he does attack/bite a kid – Then what??? “the problem is with just one of them with the biting but for the both of them they need wee wee pad training.


  20. Avatar Of Jodi



    I rescued a Shepard mix from the pound 2 weeks ago. She is about a year old and is VERY fearful and hides all the time. She was a stray. She has run off a few times and loves just chasing birds, bunnies, and butterflies. I’m not sure what my next step should be. I got her to grow up with me 2 yo pug mix. She doesn’t respond to her name yet and I really wish I knew what she had endured as a stray. How long does it usually take for her to develop trust?

    • Avatar Of S



      Awhile! But, with alot of love, alot of patience and understanding she will come around. My neighbor brought a lab who was dumped on a country road. He was only 1 year old(he had a microchip so i tracked down the breeder and the previous owner). He is gun shy and the previous owners are hunters so i gather that is why he was no longer wanted. I have had him for 3 years now and it took ALOT of slowly learning what he wasw afraid of or did not like(his belly scratched, feet touched, ears touched, and more). I am happy to say he is very sweet and trusts me! Just be patient. The reward of her trusting and loving you is worth the time!

  21. Avatar Of Lorraine Demarco

    Lorraine DeMarco


    We adopted a goldador from our local pound. He was abused my men and was not socialized with people, so he growls, snarls and barks at people although he has gotten better since training. He had a trust issue with us and it took a lot of lock and patience and training for us to gain his trust. We have been introducing him to different people a little at a time. He still has a very big problem with people coming into our house. We do know for sure though he is afraid of them or if he is very protective of us since we are the only people to give him love and respect he deserves. He has been in obedience training in a class with people and other dogs and loves it.

  22. Avatar Of Susan



    Cynthia I have the same problem. Patience lover and see the vet in case he has a bladder infection.

  23. Avatar Of Taylor



    I adopted my little guy around 9 months ago. The people at the SPCA said he was about a year and 8 days. They told me he was likely severely abused and I also believe after getting to know him, he was probably homeless for some time as well. His initial behavior was actually very obedient and polite, though he was afraid of virtually everything. The most common of course being loud noises, cars, people and other dogs. But he was afraid of other things like the stove sizzling, the floor fan, the air conditioner kicking on, the broom and even some of his own toys. He seemed to be specifically more afraid of larger men in baggy clothes and hats. He also had trouble with where he potties and occasionally still does- though he was clearly potty trained before I had adopted him. He would crawl into a space where he could hide, sometimes being a chair, the couch or beds if he thought he was about to get punished. However, we hit it off immediately and it took very little time for him to warm up to me. I live alone in an apartment and I think that may have been a perfect fit for him. While we became the best of friends in no time at all, he still struggled with everyday things, as mentioned above. He had lots of fear and anxiety over the simplest of things. I made sure to be overly affectionate and reward him for all good behavior any chance I could. He quickly regained his self confidence and the dog I had adopted became an entirely new dog who became more open minded and even began to let down his wall a little with strangers. His favorite place is in my lap and arms. He also gained a good 4x as much energy but I was ecstatic to see him improving. Of course we’ve hit some bumps here and there, he became aggressive toward other dogs (primarily larger breeds) and barks incessantly when he hears or sees any dog or person that walks by outside, he scavenges around the apartment and the porch for little crumbs (which is why I believe he may have been homeless) and occasionally he gets these spurts of what I call “hyper-drive” where his pupils dilate like crazy, his eyes appear to glaze over and his energy level rises to that of someone who just injected 10 shots of espresso directly to their bloodstream, and it’s very difficult to remove him from this over active state of mind. I chalk these things up to high anxiety. Of course we’re still working out the kinks- though the aggression towards other dogs is starting to regress thankfully and I managed to get his barking under control, the spurts of energy have also become more manageable with a lot of soothing words and gentle affection. Needless to say we’ve come a very long way and he’s an amazing dog. He’s content to sleep next to me all day long, go on long walk or play for hours. I’m so, so proud of how far he’s come and will continue to watch him mature and progress knowing I helped him get to where he is. I hope you all can take away something special from this, dogs are such a rewarding gift. Patience, kindness and calm-even tempers make all the difference in the world, though it is indeed very challenging at times, but it’s worth it. My boyfriend and I have way too much fun playing with him and you can rest assured, Benji found his forever home ❤️

    • Avatar Of Rebecca



      Your journey sounds like the one we started on six months ago when we rescued a two year old Jack Russell from the AWL
      Both Milo and his sister were owned by a market gardener who judging by Milo was a horrid person. But now he has his forever home with us and we had to teach him how to play! He sleeps with us in between with his head on the pillow hiding under the quilt if cold. He still has a long way to go but love and kind words work a treat. They are lucky animals to find such loving people to love them and help them
      Well done and keep on loving they are worth it

  24. Avatar Of Adup



    I know a dog which has been abused. She plays with me but do not react to my commands. Whenever I say come, she stops and wait for me to come to her. She is very afraid even of me. It’s been 3 4 months but whenever I call her she comer to me with her head low, as she is afraid. How to remove this behaviour. Im Lossing my patience on her and sometimes shout the command. I don’t want her to be scared of me. She sits and shake hand when said but doesn’t come when called upon

  25. Avatar Of Connie Gutierrez

    Connie Gutierrez


    We adopted a 10lb, 1 year-old Chihuahua/Pug mix who was obviously abused. It’s only been a month but I do already see signs of improvement. She adores my 17 year-old daughter and has started to sleep in bed with her. The rest of us though are not so lucky. She is terrified of my boyfriend. She seems to especially be afraid of tall men. She freaks out at the sight of him or simply avoids being anywhere near him. With me it changes from day to day, some days she’s warm and let’s me pet her without even wincing, a few times I’ve gotten her to lay in bed with me and she does cuddle up and other days she is almost back to square one with tensing up, cowering and hiding or running away. Thankfully she’s a very sweet dog and not aggressive and she’s very smart. She startles easy and almost always has her tail between her legs. I’ve been able to handle this part with extreme patience, and I’m grateful to see her improvement. She doesn’t like being confined to a room and left alone, we tried the bathroom and the kitchen and she was destructive. We are now in a wire kennel for a small dog, probably should have gotten one for an extra small dog. Nothing to destroy there. What’s been most difficult is potty training. We are crate training and haven’t figured out the right schedule for eating and going potty. She poops daily in her kennel, which I believe is too large for her. Morning potty is quick and easy. Mid afternoon potty, she does nothing. The evening potty is hit or miss and the bedtime potty is too. Any noise is a distraction to her while she’s trying to handle her business and she loses focus and interest in going potty. I’m also having trouble with her feeding as she eats only about half of what she should and is looking thin. I tried a different brand but similar, grain-free lamb, but no change. I wonder if the potty woes, trouble eating and weight loss is part of her anxiety and fear. I wonder if she is getting worse instead of better. When I see how she responds to my daughter I really want to believe she is doing better. I’m feeling a little frustrated right now and I know I have to give it time (alot more time) but I’m just not sure what else to try. I’m heading out to buy a smaller, plastic kennel that I hope will give her the feeling of more security and give her less space. Maybe less space will help her den instincts to kick in. Any advice, tips, tricks please share. P.S. Treats aren’t important to her, sometimes she’ll take them, most times she won’t. She does seem to like praise but it does make her nervous.

    • Avatar Of Joan



      Definitely the smaller crate should help. It has helped my Max tremendously. I opted for the plastic carrier because it is more enclosed. He has two small, fleece blankets that are easy to wash because he has been known to hike his leg in his old larger crate as well. One serves as the liner & the other he uses to wrap himself in. The best thing I can recommend is lots & lots of love. They will test your patience, but it is so worth it. If your daughter is who she responds best to, then your daughter will be the one who gets the fastest results from her. Maybe have your daughter work with her. That natural bond will go a long way. Animals choose their humans, not the other way around.

  26. Avatar Of Michaela



    I’ve adopted a dog about over a year ago. He spent 4 years in a home of abusive owners. Hes now 5 and we still see problems and often will cower in a corner, hair raised, growling, and bark if you even take a step towards him. If he does get into trouble he will already cower in the corner before we ever know what he did wrong. From there we try to get him to come to us in a calm and encouraging voice, in which he responds by staying in the corner and growling if even try to go near him, or belly feeling and eventually rolling over on his back. He will nip at me, even when I try to brush him.

    He is a good dog, and displays relatively good behavior especially for not being trained before we got him. Though he is very needy. He whines and paces whenever my husband leaves. Even trying to teach him simple commands is difficult. When having him sit, he sits but will get real low and have a look a fear/anticipation in his eyes. Slowly this has been improving, but it just seems he is just learning to do the trick and not fully understanding the command (if that makes sense). He goes through spurts of bad behavior, and even know when he has done something wrong before I even do. I can’t get near him or even call him over to me without him just growling. I’m at lost on what to do and would appreciate any advice. I’ve tried everything from keeping a calm and encouraging voice and body language, to a more stern approach.

  27. Avatar Of Linda



    Cynthis. I have a different problem. My dog will walk for hours (I live in the city) and will not go. But she does not go in the house either–she figured out that is not good. I worry she is going to get sick and I have been exhausted. I am readin ghtis and other articles and she is slowly getting better but then reverts to acting like I am about to kill her for no apparent reson.

    I hope you keep her and just have patience. I heard if a dog goes inside and you see it you should go in a cheery voice “Oh! Lets go outside to pee pee!” (Or whatever you want to name the behavior–but you have to name it) and then scoop them up and bring them outside. Of course they may not need to go now but if they do give them a really good treat and praise them to high heaven. But eventually they will connect they go outside and do so. Yelling at them and rubbing their noses will only make an abused dog worse and doesn’t work. Poodles are smart but also like all smart dogs, very sensitive. Good luck!

  28. Avatar Of J.p. Hunt

    J.P. Hunt


    I learned, at first, not to look directly into my dog’s eyes. I always spoke to him in a calm, reassuring tone of voice. He was given lots of space. When he hid in a corner, I did not try to move him. I wanted him to come to me on his own. I needed to earn his trust. I always told him he was a beautiful boy, a good boy, and I loved him. When he allowed me to get close to him, I stroked him gently, singing a lullaby. It took six months before he would go near my husband. We have had him for over two years now. Other than the fear in his eyes when he hears a loud noise or thunder, no one would ever know he had been badly abused. We love him dearly — and he loves us. Don’t let the fact that a dog has been abused stop you from adopting him. All he needs is love and a lot of patience. The reward you will receive is immeasurable.

  29. Please help I have poodle who been abuse she shows fear and she pee every where in the house and poops also I take out several times day I give her space in her crate she plays with other two dogs and she used sleep with me until start pee on bed and couches I love her to death but don’t know what do help need advice to help her break her from pee and pooping in house try pee pads all over house but she wouldn’t go on them she go out six seven time day has whole yard to play but she still goes in house need alot suggest and advice

  30. Avatar Of Jessica



    My family adopted a pit bull lab mix, we were unaware that she was abused, she does great most of the time with my kids and fiance and myself, but will bark and growl at selective people including my roommate. Any suggestions?????

  31. Avatar Of Loni



    i rescued a mini daschund from abused home. Night and day! She is a brand new dog now a few months later. I took her everywhere with me and socialized her. She would start to growl at people and I’d shoosh her, Caesar Milan style. Eventually she learned not everyone was a threat. She used to gnash her teeth eat my husband while crated, now she lays on his lap while he watches football ALL THE TIME.

  32. Avatar Of Sammie



    i just got a one year old dog … she came from a bad home she wont eat or go to the bathroom for me she wont leve my bedroom how do i get her to trust me im worried about her

  33. Avatar Of Katie Bray

    katie bray


    i just got three dogs very sweet but was betten by deaf people they use the cage as a safe haven. we use a cage as a time out place. im not sure how to handle them we love them to death.

    • Avatar Of Sammie



      i just adopted a dog she came from new mexaco and was abused the family she was with shot bebbes at her and her mom when rescue rovers came and got her they found bebbes in her and her mom she will not go to the bath room for me or eat her food she wont leve my bed how do i get her to trust me and to go to the bathroom and eat i just got her on satrday22 any advise?

      • Avatar Of Rebo



        Stay away from anything Cesar Milan. ! …………………………………….Use kind, techniques. Help her to feel safe, confident. Never CORRECT an abused or traumatized dog. You can send her over the edge. ! …………………………………….Aggression from these dogs is common. It is not true aggression because it comes from fear. Find her a place where she can go to feel safe. Her crate can do this is you properly introduce it to her. Leave the door open. Put a blanket over it. …………………………………….Begin by rewarding her (with whatever she absolutely goes bananas for) for doing good behavior. This can be: being calm. Sitting nicely (without your asking).lying down quietly. Coming near you if she is shy. Lying on her back (a vulnerable position). Giving you her attention if you say her name. This is huge! giving you eye contact!!!

        Look up dog body language and find the ones where dogs are showing relaxed, calm, happy body language. Reward your dog when she exhibit these! ……………………………………. Go to clicker training.com. Read About clicker training. Read 15 things you need to know about a clicker. You can try on your own but I would suggest you find a clicker trainer to show you how to get started. Clicker training is very fast. You can train anything you want in the world. The human slows the training because we are awkward with the clicker and the reward (which can be anything the dog loves). It takes us a while to figure out where to put our hands and the treat, etc.

        The good part about positive training is that when we make a mistake (and we do), the dog is not punished of corrected because we screwed up. Remember, you can train the dog to do ANYTHING the dog is physically capable of doing very quickly. There is no shouting, yanking of the leash, prong collars, shock collars, choke collars, or any other torture. Traumatized dogs can’t handle more distress.

        I am available 9 am- 8 pm CST by Facebook. I teach private and class lessons using positive reinforcement methods. Many aversive trainers now say that they use positive and gentle methods when they use shock collars. Beware!

        • Avatar Of Lorraine Demarco

          Lorraine DeMarco


          I never agreed to clicker training as a lot of dogs are afraid of the noise. The best and most effective is treats and praise. If your are concerned about your dog gaining with with using treats, cut their food amount back some. As time goes by the treats can be be backed off and use praise. Dogs, all dogs, love praise.

  34. Avatar Of Emily



    We got a terrier mutt a bit go who was abused, he was terrified of me and my dad when we first met him but LOVED our dog. After hanging out with our dog he eventually warmed up to the whole family and is just the biggest cuddle bug now. He seems to dislike others now though and gets anxious when alone. Hes incredably quiet but flinches, or freaks out at loud noises and is uncomfortable in the car and freaks if you go over bumps (had to take him to a vet to check him out). But overall hes great! But he has NEVER shown agression to any of us (he does like squirels quite a bit tho….)

  35. Avatar Of Carol Waldenmeyer

    Carol Waldenmeyer


    We adopted Sally, a 4 year old Jack Russel mix who was abused. She was very afraid of my husband so we decided that when he came home I would back off and let him feed, pet and walk her. It took a couple weeks but she loves him now and waits by his chair until he is finished eating and they go for a walk. We still have trouble getting her to come to us unless we have a treat in our hands but she is doing so good. Potty training is complete. We can leave her out of her crate for short periods of time when we are gone. We love her so much but we have a long way to go for her to trust us completely. Wouldn’t give her back for anything. Just takes a lot of patience.

  36. Avatar Of Silvia silvia says:

    I adopted a wonderful pit bull mix about 3 weeks ago and all he does is lay in my bed looking so sad! He wont walk, I have to carry him to go outside, he is scared almost all the time. I took him to the vet and there is nothing physically wrong with him, he did have ring worms, and very high anxiety so the vet put him on Prozac and said it can take weeks to kick in. In the meanwhile he just stays in my bed, will sometimes put his head on my arm and falls asleep, I dont want to traumatize him anymore by forcing him down the steps to go outside so he just uses training pads to use the bathroom. I speak very only very gently and sweetly to him , I approach him very gently, he likes to eat his food from my hand only, he looks as if he’s afraid of his food dish! I know I was told it will take time for him to relax enough to warm up and I will never let him go, but it is so frustrating and so sad to see him this way, it just breaks my heart. He frowns most of the time and looks worried. He has never barked once and he has never shown any type of aggression at all. Has anyone had a similar situation? About how long can it take for an abused rescued dog to relax and be happy again? Is there anything else I can be doing for this sweet angel? His name is Sammy and he was a stray so we don’t have a specific background except that the shelter can tell he was abused, he is about 2 1/2 years old and seems to have part bull dog. He’s lost some weight since I got him, he is very muscular and in great shape otherwise.

    • Avatar Of Moose'S Mom

      Moose's mom


      My husband and I adopted a 2ish year old pit bull about 2 months ago. Someone dumped him on my parents neighbors who were going to let him be put down since he was a pit. He was obviously abused. Scared to come in the house, scared especially of my husband, would tuck his tail when we had anything in our hands and would mentally shut down when a leash was put on him or if we said no or talked gruff to our other dogs for doing something bad. We’ve had to adjust the way we approach our dogs and him. We try to be more mindful of our tone and body language. He has come such a long way in two months. He too is very kind and gentle, like Sammy. I also fed him from my hand at first. What we noticed was that he watched every move that our other dogs made and would imitate them and the way they acted. I believe our dogs have done as much or more for Moose as we have. Is there any way you might be able to introduce him to another dog? Moose is now playing like crazy, cuddles us on the couch, and even plays sweetly with a little orphan kitten we took in. He is still apprehensive when left alone and has chewed some things up, we believe due to anxiety. And the leash issue… I just don’t know where to start on that.
      I hope Sammy is making progress! And would like to hear more about your sweet boy!

    • Avatar Of J. Paul

      J. Paul


      Our current foster has been with us for several months. He came from a horrendous situation, and was living outside in a small enclosure with 16 others dogs, and they were actively starving. He’s a medical foster which is why we’ve been caring for him for so long. It just takes time for them to learn how to trust and to learn how to be a ‘regular’ dog. Hopefully, your precious boy is improving. Just have patience (even when you don’t) and lots of love.
      I think for the first two months, our foster would drink 95% of his water from the bowl we keep outside on the patio. We have two large dogs so I always keep a big bowl of fresh water outside as well since they are hyper and love to chase each other outside. But now our foster drinks from his bowl all the time. He still has some accidents in the house, and there are times when we have carry him down the back stairs because he doesn’t want to go outside. It’s very rare for our foster to want to stay outside longer than it takes for him to potty, but that’s okay. I’m pretty sure he loves nothing more than being on the bed with his blanket. 🙂
      If your dog is finally going outside, always praise and maybe take treats or a couple pieces of kibble to reinforce going to the bathroom outside.
      We’ve had great success with Trazadone for our foster’s anxiety.
      Our first two dogs are both rescues, and when we got our second, he was frightened of loud noises and anything noisy that had to do with metal. The first time I got out a ladder, the sound of it sent him running three rooms away into the corner. Now, he couldn’t care less about any noise.

      • I have poodle who was abuse badly she had eye infection her hair mangle her nails were like Hawks nails no shots she was so under weight now I have her she doing better except she pee every where I take her out several times but still pee on my couches bed etc what can I do

    • Avatar Of Emily



      The way your dog is acting really struck a chord with me. Over a year ago, I adopted a senior dog who has severe anxiety and had been abused. She wouldn’t eat or drink much for the first whole month. I had to stay up late at night holding her while she shook because she was so ashamed she had an accident in the house. It has been a really long process to get her to come out of her shell. Because she is such an old dog, her habits are set and she has other underlying problems. I just wanted to share a little bit about my dog because I know what you’re going through and it will get better. It is so frustrating to not see results, but you will! Love and patience and communication with your vet are key to helping abused dogs like ours. 🙂

    • Avatar Of Alie



      Hi Silvia – I have a foster dog right now that sounds exactly like your pooch! How is he doing now, and what have you done that has helped him? I greatly appreciate any feedback you can give me!

  37. Avatar Of Christina



    I have a 5 month old pomchi. She is half pomeranian and chihuahua. She is very small dog. I’ve had her for a month and she still is getting scared. She misbehave a lot and it’s hard because if I try to be stern with her she just yelps over and over like she is being beats. She has bitten me several times, and nothing I do seems to work. She hides from me, runs away, doesn’t listen. I don’t know what to do with the dog anymore.

    • Avatar Of Gudrun Thorgeirsdottir

      Gudrun Thorgeirsdottir


      How do “you” feel? The dog knows how you feel so love to be you because that’s like a magnet and don’t feel disappointed don’t give up onyou,,. You must be emotionally strong because it make the animals’ feel safe. Don’t give the dog full attention all the time. I’ve been able to pet wild cats after they got some time to learn to know me, it’s same with dogs. I got a 2 months old, abused Chihuahua two days ago and she was really, scared just looking for place to hide and vas very aggressive like a wild animal. But not anymore, now she’s very happy and playful, it took only two days. Hand-feed is the first solution,, just a little peace at the time, and in about two hours, she knew my hands brings food, I keep my voice soft, hands at the floor, we play with a ball like I love to do it and I make sound like kissing and little bit of singing when I say come. Only do what makes you feel confident or safe too, and don’t try too hard. It works for me so it could work for you too.

  38. Avatar Of Lupy Lupy says:

    please help I have recently got this dog a pocket Pitt who is about 1 year old and he is recently abused as a bait dog for dog fights and is showing aggressive behavior and especially towards me and tried to bite me for the first time today what should I do my kids have fallen in love with him and he really is a sweet boy

  39. Avatar Of Stacy



    hi I just got a Siberian husky who is 6 months old this poor puppy has been kept in his crate most of that time and he was beaten .we cant even put a leash on him because he goes ballistic crying fighting and biting . his hip is out of wack due to excess time in the crate he is not house broken . he is a beautiful dog and

  40. Avatar Of Julia



    I have just welcomed our new member into the family. We have 5 people in the home plus one cat and our precious new arrival.I take animal care very serious because they are like children to me.I adopted this wonderful bundle her name is Ashlynn.she seems to be a little over a year old…and EXTREMLEY HORRIFIED! !! I fell in love withher instantly.she on the other hand well..enjoys playing “”HIDE N SEEK””daily.I don’t mind finding her because its the cutest places where I find her;) like holding up books on my bookshelf as if she were a book end.lol.she has been with us since christmas and I have since taught her to walk (with me) on a leash.I’m very proud of her.but she doesn’t seem to be eating or drinking or not around us anyhow. I’m wondering if you have any tips to help.I have worn a shirt and placed it ontop of my suitcase where She chose to rest and hoping that may help.she loves sox from what I was told so I took an old one put noise inside sewed it up for her 1st toy..she doesn’t want it though. .please help I LOVE Ashlynn.I want her ro be happy to be in our family♡

  41. Avatar Of Kaitlyn



    Hi I adopted a jack russell blue heeler yorkie mix female she came from a hoarding situation down in georgia . When I adopted I already had 2 dogs in my household she was perfect with them, then 2 weeks after I adopted her I found out she was pregnant . Needless to say she had the puppies september 8th,2014 and was an amazing mother , I was the only person able to handle her and the puppies for she would attack anyone that tried to come in my room . I was told that was normal and her being protective for the babies , now the pups are 3 1/2 months old I adopted the runt of the liter and have the biggest male from the liter because his home fell through. Anyways she has been attacking my father on a regular basis normally just mouthing at him since we have gating up because my sisters male russell is nervous about the pups . The past 2 nights she has gone after the family female black lab who is very timid and low key they havent hurt each other but I dont know how to fix this. She isnt even 2 years old yet and had 2 liters as well as deal with dog fights at the house because there was 30 dogs including her and 6 pups from the first liter . I am trying she has come a long way in the 6 months I have had her I recently put her anxiety meds to help her with her fear . Does anyone have any tips to help I am desperate I dont want her hurting any othe the other dogs or my family members

  42. Avatar Of Slettka



    I have a Husky mix of some sort that is having a hard time with trust. We have had him for about a month and a half. He has had days where he is warmed up and then he will have days where he will not come in. He will not go around my husband or dad, which makes me think he was abused by a man. I don’t know what to do. I want to be there for him and don’t ever want to give up on a dog but I need help and suggestions. I can’t even get him inside but never tries to leave us. Anyone?

    • Avatar Of Sarah Sarah says:

      We adopted a beautiful girl in December and she too is (well, was) really afraid of men. She met my husband the same night she met me and she was timid around him, she tried to growl once or twice but I sat down on the floor right next to her and pet her chest, then started touching his leg, his hands and his arms and quietly telling her that “he’s ok”. Over and over until she decided to come over and sniff. Then she licked his hand and now they’re inseparable. We have had to do this for all the men we’ve introduced her to, we know that it takes a solid 5-10 minutes to introduce her to men and every time I had to kneel down next to her, pet her and the man and tell her that he’s ok. She is afraid of men in hats and sunglasses (and I’m told this is really common) so if I mention this little fact to the man, they take their hats or glasses off before I ever have to ask. We’ve got more issues to deal with but the man thing is slowly getting better. We’ve graduated to her just looking at me when she’s nervous and if I’m smiling at her and telling her that “he’s ok”, she’ll go up on her own to smell and (sometimes) lick now. Major progress!! I hope this helps you and your Husky boy. She’s one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

  43. Avatar Of Tg



    I have a pointer who was abused and abandoned. She was near death from starvation when I was finally able to catch her and bring her home. I’ve had her for 2 years now and she has come a long way; she used to cower in the back of her crate and shake constantly but now she mostly lays on her bed and appears relatively comfortable around the family, strangers still send her pacing and shaking although she now comes out and attempts to greet them. This improvement didnt happen on its own its been a lot of work and patience. I have recently been considering rehoming her with my parents who she is fairly comfortable with. I’m hoping someone may have a helpful hint or two as to how or if I should do this at all. I have rehomed several dogs on the past (which I had similarly rescued) but this one has been a little bit more of a special case. Thanks a bunch, and I’d be glad to answer any questions about handling abused dogs, I’ve done plenty of it…. good luck to anyone who gives animals like this a chance!

    • Avatar Of Barb



      Hi tg,

      My newly rescued dog is now fairly comfortable with me, however, she is scared to death of my husband. Do you have any suggestions for what we can do? Thank you.

      • Avatar Of Tressa



        I don’t think you should rehome her after she’s been with you for the last 2 years. That just isn’t fair to her to have to go somewhere an start all over. She could also regress.

        I’ve had abused dogs and one in particular. It took her years to fully trust us. I tried to re home her and she would not allow it. She was about 4 when we got her and she passed away at 17. She knew where she wanted to spend her remaining years…with us.

        It’s so difficult on these little ones to go to new homes. I have one now that was abused. The woman who initially got him kept him for two years before she decided she wanted to rehome him. He’s been underneath the couch since we got home yesterday. I know he is stressed and terrified. It just isnt fair to him. Abused dogs are not like ones who have never been abused. They need stability even more.

  44. Avatar Of Vicki W.

    Vicki W.


    Me and my husband just bought a one year dachshund. she is sweet and she is not aggressive at all. But she is scared of my husband and she runs away, hides under our tables and will hide behind be as we’ll. the previous owner didn’t say she was abused but she is showing signs of it. I’ve never had a dog with problems like this. Will she ever play and act like other dogs, and will she always be skiddish. I’m just very concerned. Thank you for any feedback. – Vicki W.

  45. Avatar Of Rye



    I rescued a brindle black mouth curr from a shelter.. Everything is great with her though she seems timid .. Most times when I call her she comes to me slowly with her head down.. I have to rub her and hug her for her so she won’t be scared. But lately when I want her to get off my bed or couch I reach for her back and she tries to bite me aggressively. I get scared sometimes and I take it personal.. She does it to my boyfriend sometimes too but not as much as me. Shes such a sweet dog I just want her to stop doing that because I really don’t want to take her back.

    • Avatar Of Tg



      Hi, ive delt with similar situations and I want you to know that it isnt personal. Your dog just doesnt like what youre doing, lol. I would respond by remaining calm and showing little emotion, take the dog by the collar and put it in a crate. If this is dissagreeable to you then try a muzzle. Only put the muzzle on after the dog has shown this type of aggression, but dont leave it on too long and dont attempt to punish the dog further with harsh words or any thing like that. Your dog needs patience and firm discipline, but dont forget the love always show your dog some compassion. Good luck.

    • Avatar Of Tressa



      Dog trainer!

  46. Avatar Of Betsy K

    betsy k


    Hi I have a recue chug he was abused but don’t know in which way he hates long hair people and some people can’t pet him on his head or he will atack you I’m trying to teach him that now one wents to get him his name is bear I bought him a little teddy bear and tell him I’m getting the bear and grab his teddy bear so know he knows if I get the bear it is not him but now he doesn’t want anyone getting his bear lol but at least I can get a hold of him to love him up yes he sleeps with me right up close that I can’t move to much or he will attack like I said before I don’t know want his lost oners done to him but he is getting all the love he can handle

  47. Avatar Of Garin



    * you should keep him like that *

  48. Avatar Of Garin



    You should keep like that. If he does not bite it is good right? He probably isn’t used to be loved and brushed. If you adopted him from a rescue shelter, that means (most of time) he was abused. Keep loving, petting him, and brushing him.

  49. We adopted a bichon from a rescue shelter about a week ago. We feel he was previously abused. He is very sweet and loves to be petted and brushed and played with. He sleeps on our bed and loves kids and women and most men. But he barks, growls, and retreats with some men. He now loves my hubby since he is great with Noodles (dogs name). He does not bite. What should i do?

    • Avatar Of Chris



      I just adopted a previously abused dog for the next year. The difference in this animal is crazy she is so skittish but everything she does is solely to make you happy I’ve never had a better dog under my care. Things I’ve noticed is give them so much love make then understand what and who you are to them and after a couple months of this begin to train and discipline. That being said never lay a hand on an animal like this raising your voice will startle them but comforting them after will show them the raised voice does not mean your going to hit them and such they will begin to associate things differently. All this being said I started watching this dog at 11months so she is very young.

    • Avatar Of Katie Katie says:

      My dog is the same way when it comes to some men. I usually get on the floor with my dog and say in a soothing voice that it’s okay. She sniffs him and I tell him to talk to her in a calm voice . My advice is to do the same thing with your dog. Get on the couch or floor and calmly tell your dog it’s ok and have your guy friend or whoever sit with you and talk to your dog and to always pet the neck not the head. Hope this helps

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