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Thread: 5 year old female, new to our home...fear issues

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    Kennel Cleaner mcardle3's Avatar
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    Default 5 year old female, new to our home...fear issues

    I have rescued several bulldogs over the years after owning bulldogs for many years, I am now faced with something I've never encountered before and am hoping for some guidance.

    Our home consists of my husband and myself, our 7 year old rescue boy, a 3 year old rescue Manx cat, and a new girl. 5 years old. Raised in the home of a breeder. Shown a time or two, and bred for one litter of pups, which were delivered successfully. She is now spayed and living with us.

    We had two rescue boys, bonded pair. When one died recently of cancer (liver) and Cushings, we felt it important to add another to our home as our remaining boy was grieving terribly for 4 months.

    We again looked into rescue, but the dogs we were seeing were either ONLY dog homes or were in areas that only adopted within their own area (while I understand this, I find it odd that someone who has been in the rescue and known to do rescue can't get a dog from another rescue (when they have many dogs needing homes) because of location...but I digress).

    Along comes this little darling girl via a friend of a friend. Maisie is sweet and beautiful, and VERY SCARED.

    Behaviors include:

    Slinking like a cat as she runs from any noise (it can be anything from someone loading the dishwasher to someone dropping something.)

    Hiding behind the dining room table and not coming out unless made to do so.

    Hiding in the hallway (bedroom doors closed)

    What we call "bustering"...deciding she wants somewhere she feels safe if that means taking the legs out from under you.

    She was going outside very well and had a favorite tree she liked to do her business around...we can no longer let her out to use that tree without a leash as she will run under the tree and NOT come out, even at 20 degrees. I was out under that big pine for 45 minutes sweet talking and coaxing one day in that weather.

    We've had her a month. She is so happy to see us. Her little but and tail go a mile a minute. She is so happy to eat. She is so happy until ONE THING will set her off and that's it for the day.

    WE have a dog walker who comes in every day and even she is questioning what we can do to stop this.

    Any thoughts on how to help this girl get over her fear of everything?

    -15826687_10154356865649370_3131852814939148350_n-jpg All worn out from everything in the world making her jump!

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    Default Re: 5 year old female, new to our home...fear issues

    I think it is really a time game. She will adjust. I think that when there is something that scares her just reassure her and show her it is ok and she is safe. I would not make her come out of the safe spot she chooses (of course she could not stay under the tree in 20 degree weather) but instead sit near her, not too close as to crowd her, but enough to just talk soothingly to her and let her know she is safe. She will begin to understand she is safe and loved and I think this behavior will stop. Our rescue who came to us at 2 1/2 took an entire year to fully relax and know he was in a good loving home. I vivdly remember the day as I could literally see him just relax, like a heavy weight was taken from his shoulders. I cried!
    My smooshy face boy!

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    Rescue Volunteer Become a 4 Paw Member sisters3's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5 year old female, new to our home...fear issues

    Sorry, I don't have any advice (still kind of new to all of this) but I had to tell you how great you are for taking in rescue pups, so KUDOS!! I hope Maisie gets comfy soon, the advice from @brutus77 makes sense (lovely story too) and I hope that time is all that it takes. Also LOVE her photo, she is so pretty!
    May the sun in your eyes be your ONLY problem today! Peace Friends!

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    Kennel Cleaner mcardle3's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5 year old female, new to our home...fear issues

    Quote Originally Posted by brutus77 View Post
    I think it is really a time game. She will adjust. I think that when there is something that scares her just reassure her and show her it is ok and she is safe. I would not make her come out of the safe spot she chooses (of course she could not stay under the tree in 20 degree weather) but instead sit near her, not too close as to crowd her, but enough to just talk soothingly to her and let her know she is safe. She will begin to understand she is safe and loved and I think this behavior will stop. Our rescue who came to us at 2 1/2 took an entire year to fully relax and know he was in a good loving home. I vivdly remember the day as I could literally see him just relax, like a heavy weight was taken from his shoulders. I cried!
    Thank you.

    We did have to block off areas because she would scootch in that cowering run she does and hide forever if we did not. She has a bed she LOVES at our house. We make sure it is close to where we are sitting so she can relax in it as her safe place. She is such a good girl...this fear thing is disheartening...it will take as long as it takes, but I'd love to help her through this. Thanks for your advice.
    "Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
    -Dean Koontz


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    Kennel Cleaner mcardle3's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5 year old female, new to our home...fear issues

    Quote Originally Posted by sisters3 View Post
    Sorry, I don't have any advice (still kind of new to all of this) but I had to tell you how great you are for taking in rescue pups, so KUDOS!! I hope Maisie gets comfy soon, the advice from @brutus77 makes sense (lovely story too) and I hope that time is all that it takes. Also LOVE her photo, she is so pretty!
    I've had bulldogs for years, but never this fear thing. In fact, I loved the fact that our dogs (we travel with them a lot) are exposed to so much that nothing really fazed them. Perhaps in summer when we can get her out and have her do more things it will ease up. That hiding under that huge pine though...ugh. She's on a line until she learns that is a no-no. lol
    "Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
    -Dean Koontz


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    Default Re: 5 year old female, new to our home...fear issues

    Have you considered a Thunder Shirt? Have you talked to your Vet about meds to calm her. I never recommend any behavioral meds for dogs with aggression issues as they tend to hide any warning signs(hackles up, ears back, etc.) that one might expect before an attack. She's a sweetheart so she may be a candidate. I hate to hear of any bully living in fear. Give it some time and let her get more comfy ...try a Thunder Shirt. Talk to your Vet.

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    Default Re: 5 year old female, new to our home...fear issues

    Quote Originally Posted by oscarmayer View Post
    Have you considered a Thunder Shirt? Have you talked to your Vet about meds to calm her. I never recommend any behavioral meds for dogs with aggression issues as they tend to hide any warning signs(hackles up, ears back, etc.) that one might expect before an attack. She's a sweetheart so she may be a candidate. I hate to hear of any bully living in fear. Give it some time and let her get more comfy ...try a Thunder Shirt. Talk to your Vet.
    I have heard a lot of good reviews regarding the Thunder shirt, maybe that is worth a try...

    I'm so sorry to hear about your girl, hopefully she will calm down in time.

    "What we once enjoyed and deeply loved, we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us." Helen Keller
    RIP Wellie, Bella, Winston & Roxie

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    Default Re: 5 year old female, new to our home...fear issues

    Thunder shirt might help....worth a try. Rescues dont come with guarantes. I raise my hat to all of you good soles taking in any rescue pet as you have no clue what environment they came from. So basically you need to give her time to get use to you. If she hides under the tree, go under the tree with her, talk to her calmly and stay under the tree for a few mins and just pet her and tell her "It's ok" etc etc. Like go to her and take your time in that moment she's afraid of. Sit on the floor if you have to. Example, Nyala is afraid of certain things. She's only 15months. If I change the garbage bag in in kitchen and ruffle the bag to get air in it so I can open it up, she dashes on her bed. I say.....it's ok Nyala, it's ok and go pet her with a belly rub. Took her about a month or so and she stopped. But I would belly rub her only for a weekish and stoped. I would just use...it's ok....and ignore her. She realized I change garbage bags everyday and go use to it. She was scare of thunderstorms and run, well I would go with her in the storm, sit to her level an pet her. Like take that moment, go to her, sit to her level for a few minutes and comfort her, chit chat and get up and leave. Eventually they make the link to follow you when they are afraid. It's like small children, they run in your bed when they are afraid as they know you'll comfort them. Then they become teens and they think they're immune to the world. Lolll

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    Default Re: 5 year old female, new to our home...fear issues

    As Chip has said, I was going to recommend a Thundershirt. It fits snugly, but not tight,giving the dog a feeling of security. It may be just the thing that will help your girl! @mcardle3
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    Kennel Cleaner mcardle3's Avatar
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    Default Re: 5 year old female, new to our home...fear issues

    Quote Originally Posted by oscarmayer View Post
    Have you considered a Thunder Shirt? Have you talked to your Vet about meds to calm her. I never recommend any behavioral meds for dogs with aggression issues as they tend to hide any warning signs(hackles up, ears back, etc.) that one might expect before an attack. She's a sweetheart so she may be a candidate. I hate to hear of any bully living in fear. Give it some time and let her get more comfy ...try a Thunder Shirt. Talk to your Vet.
    I have not tried the thundershirt. I will look into that, however, excellent idea.

    The vet says that as she was at one home and not out and about much, and had the same house for 5 years it is going to take some time for her to come around. We do have small victories. We love that she is so happy to see us and be with us. That is a huge step.

    Quote Originally Posted by helsonwheels View Post
    Thunder shirt might help....worth a try. Rescues dont come with guarantes. I raise my hat to all of you good soles taking in any rescue pet as you have no clue what environment they came from. So basically you need to give her time to get use to you. If she hides under the tree, go under the tree with her, talk to her calmly and stay under the tree for a few mins and just pet her and tell her "It's ok" etc etc. Like go to her and take your time in that moment she's afraid of. Sit on the floor if you have to. Example, Nyala is afraid of certain things. She's only 15months. If I change the garbage bag in in kitchen and ruffle the bag to get air in it so I can open it up, she dashes on her bed. I say.....it's ok Nyala, it's ok and go pet her with a belly rub. Took her about a month or so and she stopped. But I would belly rub her only for a weekish and stoped. I would just use...it's ok....and ignore her. She realized I change garbage bags everyday and go use to it. She was scare of thunderstorms and run, well I would go with her in the storm, sit to her level an pet her. Like take that moment, go to her, sit to her level for a few minutes and comfort her, chit chat and get up and leave. Eventually they make the link to follow you when they are afraid. It's like small children, they run in your bed when they are afraid as they know you'll comfort them. Then they become teens and they think they're immune to the world. Lolll
    Can't sit under the tree with her. It is a large blue spruce with branches all the way to the ground. She burrows into it and against the trunk, some 15 feet in. I've also worked with dogs with fear issues before so I do know and understand how to deal with fear issues. Our Custer was beat to a pulp as a pup before we adopted him. He has actual dents in his skull from beatings as a pup. It took 3 years, but he was 11 months old...she's 5. She came from a loving home. It is all the new...all at once. We'll get there, but I'm just looking to expedite the help if I can. I won't put her on prozac or drugs. I'd rather go the old fashioned love and comfort way
    "Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
    -Dean Koontz


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    Default Re: 5 year old female, new to our home...fear issues

    Quote Originally Posted by mcardle3 View Post
    I have not tried the thundershirt. I will look into that, however, excellent idea.

    The vet says that as she was at one home and not out and about much, and had the same house for 5 years it is going to take some time for her to come around. We do have small victories. We love that she is so happy to see us and be with us. That is a huge step.



    Can't sit under the tree with her. It is a large blue spruce with branches all the way to the ground. She burrows into it and against the trunk, some 15 feet in. I've also worked with dogs with fear issues before so I do know and understand how to deal with fear issues. Our Custer was beat to a pulp as a pup before we adopted him. He has actual dents in his skull from beatings as a pup. It took 3 years, but he was 11 months old...she's 5. She came from a loving home. It is all the new...all at once. We'll get there, but I'm just looking to expedite the help if I can. I won't put her on prozac or drugs. I'd rather go the old fashioned love and comfort way
    Oh I see....love n comfort is always better to start with before meds! Good thinking!

  17. #12

    Default Re: 5 year old female, new to our home...fear issues

    You could try music and essential oils

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