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Thread: How to socialize adult, previously abused dog?

  1. #1
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    Aug 2005
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    How to socialize adult, previously abused dog?

    I'm talking about Vallis. We've had him for about 1.5 years, and he really doesn't seem to have made a whole lot of progress with becoming socialized to strangers. He is fine if they come our house- he just barks then is friendly- it's just on walks that he acts like a little gremlin.

    He was about 1.5 when we got him, was not fed enough and was neglected, was probably hit, and had never ever been on a walk in his life. The only reason he was ok with our dogs and cat was because he had lived with other dogs/cats.

    Basically, on walks (we go on a walk nearly every day and he encounters lots of people) he will bark/growl at bikers, joggers, skateboarders, men, other dogs, and anyone else he thinks is suspicious. He is usually friendly to women and children. I was hoping that over time he would get used to these daily encounters and stop acting like that.

    What can I do differently to get his behavior to stop?

  2. #2
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    Is that the only problem you want to work on & how are you now trying
    to correct it?
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  3. #3
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    Maybe he would benefit from a private trainer or an obdience class could help with his fears to socialize him more to help him get over his fears? or maybe he is being protective of you when you walk him?
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  4. #4
    I'm very interested in the kind of replies you get because I have a 2 year chihuahua that I've had since she was 8 weeks old and I can't get her socialized. She barks endlessly at whoever comes to the house, she will quiet down once people are sitting but soon as they make a move the barking starts.

    On walks she will ignore people that pass by (unless they say something to me or her while she is close to home, then the barking starts), but if she's being walked on our street and a dog passes, she barks and lunges at it, on the other hand if she's further away from home such as at the park, and sees a dog she becomes very fearful and will not move until the dog passes. Her behavior is embarrassing and the only thing socializing has done is get her used to folks she sees on a regular basis. I just don't know what else to do and hope that someday she will get tired of the barking.

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  5. #5

    Rescued dog who may have been part of dog fighting ring

    I, too, am working with a recently rescued dog (German Sheperd/beagle) who may have been abused, maybe in a fighting ring. She is VERY aggressive with other dogs and cats (barking, lunging, trying to make contact). She tries to jump on people but is not aggressive towards them. She is smart and responds to "drop it", "sit", "no bites- kisses", and "let's go in" In our home, she is playful, loving, trusting, and defers to us (goes on back for belly rub) when getting her food, waiting to go out, and when just hanging out with us. I noticed she is VERY anxious (crying, pacing) when she hears any bell-like sound on TV. That, combined with her aggression, the fact that she lost an eye due to a "vicious attack" (description from her first animal shelter in Virginia) made me wonder about the fighting background. We are intruducing people slowly and am taking advantage of an individual obedience class from the local shelter to which she was transferred. She was in quarantine for rabies just two days before we adopted her so she hasn't had a home nor positive, playful experiences with other dogs her entire life. before she left the shelter, she was described as being noisy with other dogs but the timing didn't allow them to work with her to socialize before we adopted her. She's a wonderful girl with a HUGE heart. Has anyone had any similar experiences and ideas?

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyn View Post
    I, too, am working with a recently rescued dog (German Sheperd/beagle) who may have been abused, maybe in a fighting ring. She is VERY aggressive with other dogs and cats (barking, lunging, trying to make contact). She tries to jump on people but is not aggressive towards them. She is smart and responds to "drop it", "sit", "no bites- kisses", and "let's go in" In our home, she is playful, loving, trusting, and defers to us (goes on back for belly rub) when getting her food, waiting to go out, and when just hanging out with us. I noticed she is VERY anxious (crying, pacing) when she hears any bell-like sound on TV. That, combined with her aggression, the fact that she lost an eye due to a "vicious attack" (description from her first animal shelter in Virginia) made me wonder about the fighting background. We are intruducing people slowly and am taking advantage of an individual obedience class from the local shelter to which she was transferred. She was in quarantine for rabies just two days before we adopted her so she hasn't had a home nor positive, playful experiences with other dogs her entire life. before she left the shelter, she was described as being noisy with other dogs but the timing didn't allow them to work with her to socialize before we adopted her. She's a wonderful girl with a HUGE heart. Has anyone had any similar experiences and ideas?
    I do think she would get a huge benefit from a "puppy kindergarten" type beginner's class - she already knows the commands, but a class is just as much about socialization and learning to behave around other dogs, and building trust between dog and owner. If classes are not readily available where you are, I would try approaching friends with relaxed, friendly dogs and ask about setting up some "play dates, or walks together, and just work very carefully on socialization. I am guessing a lot of her "aggression" is fear based, and who can blame her?
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  7. #7
    We adopted a German Sheperd/ Beagle mix from the shelter two months ago. She lost an eye in a "vicious attack" (the shelter's description) and was rescued in Virginia. When she came here, her eye was removed completely and she was put in quarantine for 6 months because of rabies concerns and recovery from surgery). We noticed she becomes VERY anxious when she hears a bell-like sound on TV and she is very aggressive towards other dogs (growling, barking, lunging, trying to bite them). We have a cat who is "vacationing" at the neighbor's house since Teal's arrival. She's smart and responds to these commands: sit, drop it, supper, let's go in, and who's a good girl (rolls over). She is very affectionate and good with us and wit other people, she just jumps (isn't aggressive. We're working on this, as well as her jumping on us. I am wondering if she was part of a dog fighting ring because f the bell thing and her injury. We are bringing her to an obedience class for some ideas to help her aggression, which she may have learned before she was initially rescued. I'm wondering if she was a victim of fighting,what we should do is just make her feel safe and walk with her, keeping her under control if we meet dogs by chance. If she feels threatened by other dogs (or feels she needs to attack them), those feelings can be deeply ingrained. She is part of a child-free home and we will keep making her feel safe and loved, whatever else we do. Thanks for any thoughts.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Group obedience classes; all members of the family attend each class, and do all the home work and practice sessions individually with the dog. The fee is per dog, so no extra for the rest of the family to attend. This way you all learn the same things, and are interacting with the dog the same way, and giving the same hand signals.

    Next, on walks, take a baggie with cut up bits of hot dog, cheese, boiled boneless skinless chicken breast. You want high value treats for this. Each time you see someone approaching, step to the side, have the dog sit facing you, you have your back to the other person / dog (so your dog can see what is coming, it is not behind and more scary) and you feed the treats. Basically you keep the dog busy with eating the treats, dog is focused on you, your hand the treat bag, and ignoring all else. It would help if the person / dog is across the road when you do this the first upteen times.

    The treats: one hot dog can be cut into 88 pieces (I've never made more than 62) but you get the idea, these are SMALL size bits, and you just about shovel them in the dog's mouth when you first start this exercise.

    You can desensitize to the bell sound, that will take about 2 to 3 weeks if you work at it for 1 minute 3 times daily. Ring a bell and treat. Have the dog sit, ring bell and treat. Back up 6 steps, call dog to come to you, ring bell and treat.

    The trainer in the class will have lots of info for you, as well.
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  9. #9
    Owners must intentionally "socialize" their dogs to help the dogs build confidence and avoid fears. This is done through positive exposure to new experiences, mostly outside the home.

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