Experiences of an abused rescue dog - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2016, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Experiences of an abused rescue dog

Hello, I am currently looking for some helpful advise for my current situation. Please don't post hate/mean comments.

Here's the background information:

A relative of mine currently has a purebred 4-5 year old, female German Shepherd (which he offered to take care of after a friend of his passed away) He got her about 2 years ago and from the beginning he was extremely abusive towards her. He would chain her up without food and water and would also strike her really hard for things she can't help (like going to the toilet).
I have wanted to call the RSPCA but as she has a history of attacking dogs and humans I'm afraid they may just put her down.
I also lived 6 hours away so i wasn't able to do much besides help with food costs and buy her toys when I could.

Also, even when she is abused so much, she is still very loyal to him and will always try to be near him.


Now to the part I need advise on.

I am in a situation now where I am able to support myself and be able to pay for her. I am going to try and convince him to let me have have her.

I would like someone who has had a previously abused dog to tell me what it's like; example: How you made them trust you, how to make them feel safer with you, what to do at the beginning, how to create a bond and so on.

Because she is very loyal to him in afraid that she will want to go back to him and will not see me as her new owner.

Thank you for reading and I hope to read some helpful advise!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2016, 10:45 AM
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I will just address training--all positive, motivational, is trust and confidence building for any dog. Look-up kikopup on you-tube, look up clicker training.
Also, I have a rescue, he wasn't deliberately abused, but likely got hit, and had things thrown at him (3rd world dog) so I need to be careful of overhead hand motions, carefull in introducing play, etc.. Think through the motions and scenarios that precipitated abuse and avoid those if you can. He will need time and space and management.
If you rescue this dog you will be needing far more advice than I can give.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2016, 11:57 AM
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I've seen plenty of dogs who went through this sort of stuff come out of it as wonderful, grateful loving pets. They end up devoted heart-and-soul to their new people, because they know their new people changed their lives. It takes work, patience, and GOOD training (I totally agree on starting with clicker trainer and positive methods for a dog like this--she's had enough pain to last a lifetime). I also totally agree that establishing trust with her will be the foundation for everything.

You might be amazed how fast these dogs leave their old selves behind once they're in a safe, good environment. They often bond very, very deeply with new people. She will probably be afraid of men -- and it can take a long time to undo that. If you are a woman, this will probably be easier to accomplish (assuming all the abuse she received came from a man).

She will probably always be afraid of being confined with a chain, but there's no reason for her ever to be again. That may translate to fear of a leash, but that's something that great positive training can help with. You may end up needing an easy-walk harness, as dogs who've been abused living on chains sometimes have medical problems in their necks -- and the harness is also psychologically easier for them.

My biggest concern is that I'd like you to have a good trainer help you to evaluate her. If there's a breed rescue in your area, they may have someone with enough experience to help with that too. Your post suggested that she has a history of attacking dogs and humans. These may be defensive attacks, due to the abuse. Or she may have been taught to do it by the abuser -- and that's a Very Bad Thing. You need to know whether she represents a danger to the community (and your household) that needs to be addressed if you want to help this dog. I'd really want you to try to learn more about these past bites of humans, what precipitated them, and the circumstances. This could be a dangerous situation -- or not be one -- and someone needs to help you evaluate the dog to figure it out.

Assuming you get past the evaluation....how do you establish trust?

1. 2-week shutdown. It may end up being longer than that. In the search box on the forum, do a search for what this technique is and how to do it. It's very, very important that you commit to doing it with this kind of dog -- she's been living outside on a chain, knowing only fear, so she needs to be able to have a safe space (crate) in the house to observe and soak the new life in. This is about giving her a transitional period where nothing is asked of her, and she's just allowed to be safe and soak it in.

2. Calming signals. Buy DVDs or Books by Turid Rugaas regarding canine calming signals -- silent body language dogs use to convey "I'm not a threat." Humans can use many of them to send the same message to dogs. I use them a lot with foster dogs. They really work.

3. Go slow, and set the dog up for success. Don't ask anything of the dog that it's not yet ready for. The healing has to be done at the dog's pace. This means organizing your life around it's stimuli thresholds for a while, then gradually pushing those thresholds a tiny bit week by week. It's a journey made in baby steps.

The key thing to keep in your mind is that trust is earned. That takes time for some dogs.

Here's a video a friend made about one of her foster dogs -- an old dog who was chained and deliberately starved. This dog had never been pet or touched with love and, at first, she didn't know what people were even trying to do when they did that. Watch how the expression in the eyes changes and warms over the course of her recovery--her eyes totally tell the story:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrXeeBKwM-U
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2016, 12:12 PM
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Im have not much experience with abused dogs but it is good you are doing your research and others with experience are chiming in. I hope it is in the cards for this girl to get out of her situation. She sounds like she is desperate for stability and love. I wish you the best and keep all posted.


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2016, 12:25 PM
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I have no advice to give, but I would just like to thank you for recognizing the situation this dog is in, and wanting to do something to make the dog's life better. I really hope that you'll be able to get her and have a good life with her.

From the dog community,
Thank you.

~Deanna
Bruce - Born Nov. 9th 2015, Pick up Jan. 6th 2016
At the Bridge:
Max - With us August 24th 2015 - December 16th 2015
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2016, 05:29 PM
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Just adding, wow, Magwort, great comprehensive advice addressing everything, and thanks RachRuby for taking care and being concerned and ready to help. Best of luck.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2016, 08:15 PM
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I hope everything works out for you and the dog.
Only two things.
1)Dogs live in the now.
2)There is nothing better help bond & calm a dog than a good long walk.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2016, 08:57 PM
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Are you able to handle a dog that might attack you? I would have the dog evaluated before you bring it home to see if it can be rehabilitated. I've had fosters and rescues that were abused or neglected and was never able to completely rehab them. One had to go to a home with no visitors and very calm quiet owners who loved in the country and had a very stress free life. Another was wonderful to the new family but bit guests and vets. The dog we lost last year had a bite history.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-30-2016, 11:55 PM
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And I would add this:
https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...86-post22.html

Assume you know "nothing" of this dog. A "people safe approach" look but don't touch and "The Place Command" and "Sit on the Dog" are what you do with well every dog but "especially" Fear and Aggression.

As long as you don't expect to much to fast, you should be good to go. Good luck hope all goes well.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-31-2016, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanineKarma View Post
I hope everything works out for you and the dog.
Only two things.
1)Dogs live in the now.
2)There is nothing better help bond & calm a dog than a good long walk.
I have had a few dogs in the past that were abused. I agree with point two very much and use this to forge bonds with all my dogs abused, or not. Kindness and consistency, as well as offering stability, goes a long way.
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