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I think our new dogs were abused-how can I show them they're safe now?

We just got two new dogs of mixed breed. They are medium sized outside dogs (large fenced in yard) I think previous owner abused them, because they are very jumpy and cringe if we move too fast towards them, get scared if I pick up a branch (cleaning yard up) run with head and tail down if one of kids holler etc. But they (dogs) are loving and gentle as well. Is there any way I can accelerate the process of showing them we won't harm them? I have prevented kids from chasing them & make sure they pet very soft & speak gently to them, let them (dogs) approach me, and we (dogs and I) play catch for a half hour each day. What else can I do? I'm not worried they'll bite us or anything, but I feel bad because they are so timid. Thanks for any advice!


Asked by Anonymous at 1:41 PM on Jan. 3, 2009 in Pets

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Answers (6)
  • cont....
    He was the best decision (next to divorcing my husband) I ever made. I love him to death and he is sooooo different now. It takes time, love, affection and companionship to help an abused dog or any animal trust again. He still to this day will not come around anyone he doesn't know. He will hide outback. But, when I walk him, he stays by my side even off a leash and is protective.
    Be patient....kind...gentle...loving and they will change.

    Answer by kscmbz at 11:44 PM on Jan. 3, 2009

  • I had a cat that was terrified of my husband when I got him. The thing we did was make sure my husband never went to him, when he was ready he would come to my husband. It took a while but eventually he did warm up to him and we were all one big happy family. So maybe you should try to leave them alone, make sure they have pleanty of food and water and let them warm up to you.

    Answer by determind at 1:47 PM on Jan. 3, 2009

  • yeah, unfortunately I don't think there is much you can do other than let time do its thing.. my mom has a dog that we got in a shelter when he was about a year old... I am not sure what happened in that year, but it wasn't good. The dog is now 11 and he is still timid. He is very loving though, and dogs that have been through abuse and then come to loving homes like yours appreciate more that they do have a loving home. Just continue to be extra gentle with them, and eventually they will know that you will do them no harm. Congrats to you for rescuing these doggies... I wish there were more people like you!

    Answer by IlovemyNicholas at 1:52 PM on Jan. 3, 2009

  • Our dog was obviously abused because he has some rib bones that aren't "right". The vet said they were broken at one time and were never properly taken care of to heal right. If I pick him up a certain way, he yelps. I have to pick him up like a baby. :)

    It takes time and getting used to. Don't show any anger or aggression towards the dogs, only love. Even if the dog does things that get on your nerves (like bark continuously, or chew things), be very careful in how you discipline.

    Answer by Ms.Melanie at 2:38 PM on Jan. 3, 2009

  • be gentle and loving when they come to you and understanding if they don't. in time they will be fine. i wish there were more people in this world that cared.way to go ! ;)

    Answer by singlemom503 at 6:21 PM on Jan. 3, 2009

  • I took over my ex husbands dog last April 07. He was going to be given to a shelter because of where my ex moved. My boys were devistated and so.....though I didn't want a dog, I took him. Now my ex bought him about 7 years ago for the boys (we have been divorced 10 years so I didn't know the dog) and somewhere along the way, he had be beaten. Ex says it was his neighbor...don't know...didn't drill him. The dog was a scared of everything. It took him about 3 days to feel comfortable around me. From that point on, all I did was show him love and attention.

    Answer by kscmbz at 11:44 PM on Jan. 3, 2009

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