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This is just my theory, but with abused dogs you are dealing with mental memories and physical memories. I know that muscle has what they call "muscle memory". So it is possible that the brain and the muscle are reacting to the stimulus.

You might want to try some Tellington Touch body work with him. There is a DVD and book that show you the massages and they work really well together.

If the dog was physically hurt by abuse his muscles will start reacting, you need to change the muscle reaction which will help change the brain reaction. Then after a while you can start trying to desensitize him to things that really set him off like the sound of the chain, but I think you need to do some work before you get to that point.

Here is the link, http://www.tellingtontouch.com/productsBooks.shtml#dogs

I like the TTouch set because you have the book and the DVD

You can also search for a TTouch proactitioner in your area.
 
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