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Old 12-27-2012, 04:13 PM   #1
Polyshrink Goddess
 
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Default Have any of you ever fostered a rescue dog? need advice

Hello friends! On September 15th, my mom and I rescued a 6 year old Havanese. He had been rescued from an awful puppy mill the week before. His whole life was being stuffed in a cage with at least two other dogs and taken out only to breed. When we first got him, he was so skinny! His bones stuck out and his poor little feet were splayed out from living in a wire kennel. And he walked kind of hunched over and curled around since he had never really stood up. Things like stairs, the dishwasher, grass..... all were strange and frightening to him. He had to be shaved to the skin because he was a matted mess. Incredibly, when they cleaned his teeth, none fell out.
Fast forward three months...... My mother has gone to be with a sister who has big health issues so Louie is staying with us. He has made some progress but I need help. He still is not lovable. He would spend every waking hour in his box if we let him. Although he sees our dog (who he LOVES) playing with us, he will not. Believe it or not, he was housebroken in a week. He has learned to climb up and down stairs and he plays with our dog outside in the fenced (and large..... plenty of room to run on 1/3 acre) yard but won't play with her in the house. And he is just scared of us.... We would NEVER hurt him.

Can anyone offer any suggestions?
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Old 12-27-2012, 05:07 PM   #2
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It will take time. Keep his crate cage open and just go about your daily business. The more attention you draw to him, the less likely he'll be comfortable to wander within the house. If he does come out - don't run over and pet - let him come to you. He will come out in time.

You may also want to call the local vet or trainer to see if they have suggestions. Even the SPCA may have some.
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Old 12-27-2012, 05:57 PM   #3
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I have rescue kitties. Sometimes rescue animals never completely relax. Sometimes you have to be content with the fact that they are happy, even if they don't let you touch them. All but one of my 7 cats were strays/reacues. Two of them were feral litter mates rescued at about 2 months. They were at a rescue shelter for 5 months before we took them. They were terrified and hissed when we saw them, and we took them thinking we might never be able to pet/hold them. That was 4 years ago. One of them took about a month to let us pet him; he will sleep by us, get in our lap and let us pick him up, but he is still easily scared, even by us. His brother hid under the bed and we didn't even see him for two months. Now he will come into the room we are in and sleep with us in the same room, but we can only pet him every once in a while and usually when he is on something high. While I would dearly love to pick him up and cuddle him, it is enough that he is happy. I hope that he will eventually let us pick him up, but realize that may never happen. I'm happy that he is happy. So give Louie time.
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:36 PM   #4
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Here is a picture of my shy kitty Jupiter.

Jupiter
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Old 12-27-2012, 11:01 PM   #5
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Just want to say Well Done to both you and your Mother for taking the dog into your home I have never rescued a dog myself but am a supporter of Lab Rescue here in the UK.As someone has already said it will take time and patience.Hopefully he will one day realise that he can be happy and very much loved in his new home and he will be able to trust everyone too.Good Luck
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:10 PM   #6
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I have fostered several dogs from our local shelter before we did a dog show, but it was short term and they weren't from Puppy Mills!! I do have a rescue pug that we adopted that has a very stand offish personality, but we just let her do her own thing. She is crate trained and we leave the door opened, she finds her way out once in a while for a scratch on the belly and to eat and drink but doesn't require much attention from us.

You sound like you are doing everything right, KUDOES to you and your Mom!! XO
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:09 PM   #7
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I asked my SIL who is kind of an expert on the subject and this was her reply:


My immediate thoughts are these:

* This dog spent 6 years, including his formative puppy weeks, in a small cage in a puppy mill. Three months is a _very short_ amount of time in comparison.

* Think about all the changes this dog has had to adjust to - yes, they are for the better, but these are all new & different to this dog. That can be very stressful. (Imagine if you were suddenly thrust into a world totally different from what you were used to - with no one familiar to you.)

* It sounds as if he is doing amazingly well considering what he's been through. Give him time to blossom. Don't rush it. Change is going to come in small increments and those changes will build on each other, but there may be times when he seems to regress as well, just like with humans. It may take him a year _or more_ to become more relaxed and comfortable, to learn trust, to start to gain confidence.

* He is comfortable with your dog, because he was with other dogs in his previous environment. This is in his favor, and a huge blessing. But, don't force or expect him to play when he's not ready, or in an environment where he is not comfortable. Instead, realize how wonderful it is that he _does play_ outside and provide him with more opportunities to do that. Eventually, he may transfer that behavior to other environments.

* He has limited exposure to humans and has no reason to understand being cuddly or loving - he probably has never experienced that in his previous situation. This dog needs to have consistent treatment, actions, rewards from humans, in order to learn to trust people, to learn to _want_ interactions from humans. Your job is to treat him with compassion (and to try to find some things about him to love) in spite of his current deficits, which are present through no fault of his own.

* This is a dog would very likely respond well to clicker training. There are many books, websites, and videos with information available on this method of training. Here is one of the most popular books/kits:
+ CLICKER DOG TRAINING KIT by Karen Pryor
Welcome to Dogwise.com

* If this dog's main problem seems to be fearfulness, here are two books that might help:
+ HELP FOR YOUR FEARFUL DOG - A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO HELPING YOUR DOG CONQUER HIS FEARS by Nicole Wilde
Welcome to Dogwise.com
+ A GUIDE TO LIVING WITH & TRAINING A FEARFUL DOG by Debbie Jacobs
Welcome to Dogwise.com

Hoping this helps
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:26 PM   #8
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Thank you so much!!!! I will try to send this to my mom as well. You know, I do love this little guy despite his "deficits" and I think if we can get him "over the hump" (so to speak) he will be a great little dog!
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